Saint Seiya: Next Dimension


I definitely have my share of issues with this series like the power levels making no sense and formally making Lost Canvas not canon but it’s still a great Saint Seiya story. It’s got all the action and fights you could want after all. I’ll have a review up for this series when it finishes someday.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya Episode. G


The art is definitely odd for this one. It seems to be trying for a webtoon look but the character designs don’t work so well with everyone having huge eyes and the details getting a little messy. Still, the action is good and the story’s off to a fun start so we’ll see where it goes from here. I’ll have a review up for the series when I finish it.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas Review


Saint Seiya is one of the most iconic action titles of all time and I even had it in my top 20 manga series of all time. It really is like the original Dragon Ball with its nonstop action and flashy attacks. I ended up reading this prequel a while back (About half a year ago at this point) but the review took a while as this is such a big series. The Lost Canvas is extremely impressive because it is able to really match the original series and even go beyond. I tend to waffle between the two of them quite a lot because they’re so close and each have their strengths. I figured I would leave my final decision until I finished this review as it would give me a chance to really reflect on the series and the original now that I finished it in both the manga and anime versions. Ultimately, the Lost Canvas does take the win but I’ll go into more detail later on.

The Lost Canvas has over 200 chapters and yet you could really say that the story only has one big arc. It’s probably more fair to say that it’s one overarching storyline with a lot of arcs in it though. This series covers the Holy War between Hades and Athena that is referenced in the main series. The Holy War occurs every 200 years so it truly feels endless on both sides. This futility is something the characters are fully aware of and yet there isn’t really much of anything that they can do about it. This is just the way that it has always been.

The Pegasus Saint to be born into this era is a kid named Tenma. He grew up with his childhood friends Alone and Sasha. The 3 of them led a normal life for a while but one day Sasha was proclaimed to be the new incarnation of Athena and taken away. Alone went crazy and became Hades as he ruthlessly murdered everyone in his path and Tenma ended up becoming a Bronze Saint. Now Tenma and Sasha feel like it is their specific duty to stop Alone since he ended up becoming the ultimate evil in the land. Can they really pull this off or is he too far gone?

There’s a lot to talk about here and a lot of characters to go through but first lets go through one of the aspects that really helps the series. That is the fact that it gives us a ton of lore that helps enhance the original story while also making this one stronger. For example, we find out that when you fight in Hades’ castle, your power is automatically cut to 1/10 of what it normally is. The original series referenced the characters being weaker but it wasn’t made explicit like how this one is.

We find out how Hypnos and Thanatos were sealed away for the main series and we also get to see Dohko and Shion team up here. We get to really see how the two became such good friends among the Gold Saints. Pandora gets a lot of development and one of the biggest things here is that the Gold Saints actually look really strong. In the main series you’re used to them getting schooled by every possible opponent so the Bronze Saints can save the day.

Well, this one plays out more like how you would expect. The Bronze Saints are effectively helpless for the entirety of the series until the climax and before then the Gold Saints have to pick up the slack. They’re shown to be the best in the business and all give the Specters a strong fight. So the catch is that we don’t meet a lot of notable Bronze Saints and the ones that we do see tend to be weak but it’s only fair since that’s what the Gold Saints had to deal with for a while.

We also see the inherent disadvantage that Athena’s forces have against Hades. For starters, Hades has the 108 Specters, 3 Generals, and 2 gods serving him. Athena has her 12 Gold Saints and that’s the extent of her reliable forces. I guess we can throw in Tenma and a small tribe that brings 2 fighters in but that’s really it. Then since Hades rules the Underworld, his fighters can resurrect infinitely which is another problem. That’s one of the big dilemmas that the heroes had to tackle early on since the war was really running out of control.

Compared to the first series where this was completely nonexistent, Lost Canvas does have a little fanservice once in a while. Nothing crazy but compared to the original series anything can feel notable. It’s rare enough where it’s never an issue though. The art is mainly used for the fight scenes which is great since the art here is quite high tier. You really feel the power behind all of the attacks and the designs are on point. Every battle is treated with a certain grandness to it so you know just how special the Gold Saints are. The amount of detail is also very impressive.

So lets talk about our hero Tenma. He doesn’t tend to win all of his fights the way that Seiya did, but Tenma’s a hard worker and does his best to claim victory at every turn. He is a strong fighter in his own right, there’s no doubt about that. He is also trying to save Alone the whole time without murdering him. It reminds me of the Naruto and Sasuke dynamic a lot. Tenma holds the series well as the lead and I don’t think you’ll have any issues with him. He’s just a very solid character.

As the main villain Alone is also very good. I actually preferred him to Hades here. The series even shows that they aren’t truly the same character even though they share the same body. There are times when Alone is pretending to be Hades but they have their distinct goals and wishes. Alone’s main weapon is an easel and a paint brush which is probably the craziest part of the series. Whatever he draws dies. So if he draws a portrait of you, then you will perish. It’s almost like the Deathnote but even more deadly since he doesn’t have to know your name.

The way his power works doesn’t always seem to be consistent though. For example, sometimes when he draws you, you will die immediately. Other times you do not so I assume he has the power to decide when the effect takes place. It’s a very ominous moment when he draws a picture of the Earth. this does tie into the title of the series very well though. For most of the series, Alone is building himself a giant portrait but the challenge is getting “real” colors which cannot be drawn so easily. You can probably imagine that blood is one of these “real” colors.

Now, while Tenma wants to save him, it’s safe to say that Alone is really insane though. The amount of people that he murders during his journeys is absolutely staggering. The guy just does not stop and takes out several villages and quite a lot of innocent bystanders. So whenever Tenma is trying to talk him down, you feel like it’s just too late for all of that at this point. Alone made his choice.

As for Hades himself, well he really doesn’t get to do much of anything here. The guy’s role is incredibly small so while he is very powerful, there’s not much to say about him. I would also argue that his willpower is not very great since Alone was able to overpower him the whole time. So much for his abilities right? At the end of the day Hades will always return so you should respect his power but I wouldn’t have minded the series going on a little longer so I could have really seen that.

Pandora’s role here is a lot bigger than in the original series and I was definitely a fan of hers. See, Pandora can actually fight and rather well at that. In this version she can fire off energy blasts and was able to take out many enemies on her own. Perhaps she isn’t a match for a Gold Saint but she is able to take out all other challengers. She is really attached to Hades and wants to protect him at all times but doesn’t take a passive role in this. She goes out to find and destroy any threats to him which is really what you should be doing as a bodyguard at all times. You definitely won’t be forgetting her by the end.

She does have a rather twisted first appearance where she takes out an animal though. I thought that was a rough start to the series in general as this happens in chapter 1. Fortunately the manga doesn’t tend to fall into that hole after that but you’d think that you want to start a series on a super high note. Whenever a chapter 1 is this rocky I feel like the editor needed to step in and do something. It’s always risky not to have a 5 star chapter 1 4 sure.

Shion was the Pope who got utterly wrecked in the first series so it’s nice to actually see him looking tough here. He crushes Worm in his first fight and he gets a particularly big moment in the climax against one of the gods. He is around the whole time though so there is no shortage of action for him. You get to even see him teaching Mu how to use his spells here so that bond’s established early on.

Sasha is the new Athena and I can tell you right away that she is a huge improvement over the main one. Sasha can actually fight and does do so as she goes up against Pandora at one point. While Sasha is still on the losing end most of the time, I appreciate the fact that she is actually fighting. I always thought it didn’t make sense how all of the gods are these super powerful fighters while Athena couldn’t do anything. It just didn’t add up and this version fixed that by making her a true fighter right out of the jump. The moment where she puts on the armor is a powerful moment as well. She wants to save Alone too and ends up being a very loyal companion all the way through.

Dohko is the first Gold Saint to show up (He wastes no time since he’s beating up Specters as early as chapter 2 with the war already starting. I guess it’s more of a cold war at that point since Hades and Athena have not directly acted but you can tell where it’s all going) and he ends up really being the first mentor that Tenma gets. He’s always around with some wise words and can fight really well. I like Dohko’s absolute confidence and it’s something that we got to see a bit of in the gold saints spinoff. Here he is in his young form the whole time of course and it’s crazy what a better character he is when he’s not being Shiryu’s mentor.

Yuzuriha is the member of the third party faction that I mentioned earlier. It is always interesting to add another group in and personally I tend to love the idea. Her group isn’t strong enough to be a threat to the villains but they do come in handy when it comes to the supernatural elements like bringing people back to life. She can also fight well on par with a Silver Saint which is handy here. Her role is rather large as a supporting character. Often times she is with Unicorn who also gets a bigger role than usual here. Unfortunately he can’t usually contribute to the fights too well but he always has Tenma’s back and that means a lot on its own. He really takes it hard when Tenma is murdered the first time.

Albafica is the first Gold Saint to have a serious fight with one of the judges and he does well in the role. His poison abilities are really handy even if they are a double edged blade to himself. That means he has to handle himself with great care at all times. To also be protecting a whole town is a testament to his skill as a Gold Saint. He may not have gotten to appear a whole lot but he certainly left an impression.

Asmita was another big hero to show up. I wasn’t crazy about his role considering his power though. I feel like he could have helped out so much more in the fights if he had chosen to just keep on going. His role was still pivotal in terms of sealing the enemy’s resurrections but with his power level I just wanted him to fight more. He helps spur Tenma into action and gets a suitable backstory and all. I guess I have to be satisfied about that.

Aldebaran has the same name as the guy from the first series but it’s definitely a different person. Perhaps it’s part of his Taurus constellation and he just chose not to give his name out. Either way I thought he was a big improvement over the main version. For starters, he does actually appear to be one of the strongest of the Gold Saints which is fitting with his being a power type. I always thought it didn’t make a lot of sense that he is a power type but was treated like fodder the whole time. Here he gets to fight off against the strongest of the 3 judges, at least in my opinion after seeing them all fight. He also does extremely well in the fight and I like his competitive spirit. He ended up being one of the more memorable Gold Saints.

Sisyphus gets a bigger role towards the end of the series. From the start we know that he is one of the stronger Saints as he is able to overcome Hades’ intimidating presence while the other Gold Saints were take out right away. It would seem that the one with the bow and arrow is always quite strong in Saint Seiya. I thought he was a solid character although he was easily manipulated and had some confidence issues. Sisyphus may not stand out as much as some of the other Gold Saints but he is certainly someone that you would want to have watching your back.

Cancer wasn’t my favorite Gold Saint initially, I found him to be a little weak but also super unreasonable. At one point he captures Tenma so the hero can’t escape to go and train. I never like when the heroes lock up their own allies, it feels counterintuitive. Fortunately Hades was locked up by his troops at the same time so that ended up well enough. I gained some respect for Cancer when he went to the villain base to attack Thanatos though. I thought that was a good moment to show that he feared nobody and was a very emotional kind of fighter.

The Pope also got to have his fight around this point. His spells are handy which makes u for his not having a whole lot of super abilities. I don’t think he can hold his own as well as some of the other fighters but in the end he did help out so that’s what counts. He also has his brother from the tribe who helps him train as well and the two make for good partners.

El Cid shows up to get some action but in a way you feel bad for him. He has to deal with villains who really come out of the blue as the “Dream gods” who fight him on different realms. I thought the whole thing just felt like it was thrown together at the last moment. It was also a complete counter to his legendary sword. He gets back up and keeps on fighting but he definitely had a lot to deal with right out of the gate. Ultimately it was a good way to show his determination as he had to fight many battles in a row.

This also meant that poor Tenma had to deal with more ghosts from his past again so in a way we got that arc twice. While the dream gods felt random, they were still decent enough for the most part. Morpheus was the most impressive and did well against Tenma. All 4 were strong though and they even had a fusion mode which was as strong as you’d suspect.

Kardia is the Scorpio Gold Saint of this era and he’s fun. He does have a bad habit of toying with weaker opponents while he looks for strong ones though. You’d think this would be beneath him as a Gold Saint but I suppose he doesn’t have that level of honor. That’s what keeps him from being one of the all time greats here. I like his burning passion though and his fight in the Poseidon arc is good.

Meanwhile Degel does well in his battle. It’s a little harder to get invested in his fight since he’s battling with someone who isn’t super interesting. Degel does do well in the fight though and works well enough as one of the last Gold Saints to show up for action. There’s only so much time for everyone to get involved with so many fighters on the field after all.

Gemini also makes an appearance late into the series and his first fight is later still. He does end up having a very big role though. The whole Gemini angle is always something that means he will be dealing with his own issues during the fight but he is ultimately able to push past them. I wouldn’t say he’s as good as Gemini Saga but he contributes a lot and is as powerful as you would expect.

Then you’ve got Leo. He’s the youngest Gold Saint and has a lot of passion in each of his blows. He ended up being one of my favorites by the end. He did well in guarding the ship and had a lot of responsibility for one so young. The series is quick to show that he’s a true prodigy. That can often be a red flag for a fighter this deep into the war but regardless, I think you’ll be invested in his character right off the bat.

Bennu is easily my favorite villain in the series and I would go as far as to say he was my favorite character in general. The guy reminds me of Garou in One Punch with how he would get stronger after every fight. Bennu starts out as a match for Gold Saints right out of the gate and only goes higher from there. He has a strict honor code which I like to see in a villain. His dark fire abilities are also very impressive. The guy isn’t a yes man and follows his own ambitions to the end. Any scene/fight with him was always guaranteed to be a blast.

Niobe may appear whiny from his design and how you know him in the original series but he actually doesn’t look all that bad here. He almost wins his first fight and has a natural counter to a Gold Saint’s ability. “Almost” may not count for much in a fight but it was still a good look. Then you have Minos who really got to go all out as one of the 3 Judges. His ability to move people against their will like a puppet is certainly incredibly dangerous. It has to be one of the more frustrating skills to go up against as well. Albafica was a really good match-up for the heroes because of his poisons. Otherwise this could have been a really tough fighter to bring down.

Cat Sith was a reasonably strong Specter. While he may not stand out as much as some of the other high ranking fighters, he got his own fight against Tenma which automatically means he got more of a role than most. I would have liked to have seen more out of him but he had a good design and was a solid fighter so in the end I can’t ask for much more than that. He can be rather subservient to Pandora out of fear at times but seeing as how Pandora brutally beats and murders her opponents you can see how that would happen.

Rhadamanthys is another one of the Judges to fight and he does really well. He reminds me of Bennu with his absolute confidence and dark element attacks. I would give the other guy the edge but Rhadamanthys is close and certainly not someone to scoff at. When he enters the arena, the whole dynamic changes. He is that one guy that absolutely nobody wants to face off against. His battle with Scorpio was a lot of fun. I’m not crazy about his whole servitude angle later on though. He allows Pandora to completely humiliate him because he says that doing anything else would be traitorous but there’s limits to this.

I felt bad for his subordinate Valentine who was trying to stand up for his honor. You can’t stand up for someone who refuses to defend themself though. To an extent it will end up being futile and that’s exactly what happens here. He gets credit for not backing down though. Additionally, this was how we got Pandora’s biggest fight in the series so that was a blast.

Then you have Unity but he’s a villain that I don’t like. One of those petty villains with a short sighted goal that won’t make anybody happy. Sure, he is powerful but that’s not enough to make him a really solid villain. At least that was definitely not the case for me. He’s more interesting because of the mini arc he’s in and how this all relates to Poseidon but that’s all I can say for him.

Veronica is one of the more twisted specters from the Underworld and she really doesn’t mind using any underhanded tricks to get the upper hand. As a villain with no honor code, you can bet that I wasn’t much of a fan of hers. I much prefer villains who just get out into the open and start landing attacks. That’s the best way and if you can’t win like that then you just take the loss.

Violate is the first big villain to arrive during the boat arc and she’s a fun specter. She is one of the highest ranking members and can really fight quite savagely. Her battle with Leo was excellent and she remained a loyal ally to Aiacos right through to the end. Aiacos liked to talk about bonds and even he had to recognize hers by the end. The two of them had a good dynamic going. Not enough where you were rooting for them over the heroes or anything like that but it was nice to see. Both of these villains were memorable and helped make the boat arc a complete success.

Sphinx is one of those villains who tries to act fair and just but naturally there is a plot twist about him cheating. A villain like that definitely takes a big hit with me because I tend to like my villains to have a bit more honor. If you’re going to cheat then do it boldly and right in front of the heroes to show that you mean business. Don’t slink around or anything like that.

Gemini Aspros is one of the villains who shows up near the end and he’s definitely an intense fighter to have to go up against. His abilities are impressive. The guy ultimately couldn’t defeat his own inner ambitions which means that his willpower is rather weak but at the end of the day he had a decent character arc. Too bad he just couldn’t be stronger a little sooner. That could have turned the whole war upside down.

Mephistopheles is another boss to show up at the end and he almost feels like he’s from a completely different series. Hie design just doesn’t really feel like a Saint Seiya character, perhaps it is because of the costume he uses. He does not wear a Saint’s armor or anything like that. I remember being really surprised when he showed up. I didn’t like the guy though. I know they’re going for the big troll who’s the mastermind behind everything angle but I just don’t think he needed to be here. I’m also confident that Hades or Tenma would have quickly crushed him if the guy wasn’t always running around.

Partita also shows up as another twisted fighter to face off against Tenma. Sure, she does have a super convoluted plot about why she is acting this way but honestly it didn’t help her case for me. She really put Tenma through a ton of grief and pain both physical and mental. There was no excuse ready for this. While she is still a lot better than Mephistopheles, I was not able to like her by the end. I just see Partita as a full villain all the way.

Thanatos and Hypnos certainly get their time to shine as well. As always those two look quite powerful here. As lesser gods, they still have more power than any of the Judges and even more than a standard Gold Saint. Fighting them always proves to be quite the hassle. It’s impressive that Hades got them on the payroll considering you’d think that they would want to do their own thing. I mean, to an extent they do manipulate him regardless but in their own way they think they’re being really loyal.

So yeah there’s a lot to like here and it’s really a terrific cast of characters. At worst you may just get annoyed seeing Tenma and the Bronze Saints lose so often. It does make sense with how the Bronze Saints are supposed to be the weakest though. In a way the power levels make more sense here as a result. Aside from Tenma who is able to shatter his limits by the end, each rank is accurate. A Silver Saint can never beat a Gold Saint and a Bronze can never beat a Silver. That’s just the way that it is and whoever evaluates the power within Athena’s circles is better at his job here.

In general I do think the power levels are really solid here as well. The Gold Saints are far more powerful than any ordinary Specter (They seem to be the equivalent of a high bronze or low silver) but the 3 Generals are each as strong as a Gold Saint if not a bit stronger. Than the 2 gods are more powerful than any Gold Saint so you need 2-3 to take them on. Naturally at the top, Hades is even more powerful. It’s a very straight forward power level system which allows for a bit of flexibility for some fighters who keep on getting stronger. Tenma of the heroes and Bennu of the villains are strong examples of this. They continue to rise up the ranks as the series progresses until they are near the very top.

So lets talk a bit about Alone’s goal now. It’s a very classic goal you see a lot of villains have nowadays. Basically he thinks this endless cycle of violence and knights destroying each other needs to end. So his goal is to destroy everyone completely to the point where they are taken out of this cycle. It’s the classic “Death is Peace” kind of argument that the villains like to throw around. Now, this is usually one of those pretty insane ramblings that you ignore but in the context of the Saint Seiya world it’s a little interesting. I go more into depth on this later on in the review but basically when you die you get tormented for all of eternity in most cases. If you are a hero then you are absolutely doomed and if you were an evil villain then you might get some peace. This is because the villains own the world after death.

So Alone knows first hand that there is no peace. If he can successfully dismantle this system, then perhaps everyone could finally rest. Since the Underworld is tangible, he could try destroying that but he needs to destroy everything at once. I don’t recall if he gave a specific reason why he couldn’t just destroy the Underworld first. I think this goes back into his being a villain. He wants everyone to be absolutely dead so if he destroys the Underworld first then Athena’s forces could wipe him out. So he has to take out both sides to end the conflict. Still a villainous goal of course but I would have loved to have seen Athena or one of the heroes figure out a way to take out the Underworld for good. If you ensure that death is permanent without destroying anyone, then that seems like a fair compromise. You still get to live your life as well as possible and don’t have to worry about the villains messing with you after death. Because as this series shows repeatedly, they absolutely don’t mind doing so.

Even though the arcs are all related to the big war, I’ll quickly break down some of what I would consider to be the mini arcs. First you have the trip to Italy which does not go well as Tenma is murdered and Alone takes everyone out. It was the first big loss for the Gold Saints and the various fighters all around. It was a good way to establish Alone as a true threat though. It’s so short that even calling it a mini arc may be generous but either way it made for a good time. It’s what really kicks off the war since we have our first casualties.

After that you have the mini arc where Tenma needed to be resurrected. He really got to experience the Underworld very quickly didn’t he? It’s a good adventure here and we meet the next Specter known as Fedor who was reasonably tough. Granted, he was fighting some of the weaker fighters there but it still made for a good entrance fight as the heroes went deeper into the Underworld to complete their quest. While not as over the top exciting as the future arcs, we were still slowly building things up so it made sense.

Now the next event was what really marked the turning point for Lost Canvas as an elite title. Hades sends the first judge over to take down Athena so Minos shows up along with a bunch of minions. The first battle is against Albafica, the first Gold Saint. Technically his temple isn’t the first one but he went down early to prevent them from going any further. The battle is epic and lots of nonstop action. It’s why I can’t state enough how endless the battles are here. It really is a big part of what makes the series so fun. You’re never done with the action and it’s a very dramatic arc as well as the fight comes down to the wire. Really an all star fight.

After that, we get the big fight with Bennu and Aldebaran as the next big battle. This was a sizable encounter which was the next really cool fight. It was the first full showing that Bennu was not just some mindless Specter like most of the others who craved battle above all else. No, he actually had drive and determination which made the fight even better. It was a really good way to also raise the stakes right away.

From there we had the fun meetup where Hades attacked the palace and he has his big meetup with Alone. Lots of cool things happen there and Aldebaran even gets to fight some more challengers later on but the next big event was the forest of illusions. It’s always a classic plot to have the lead have to confront the memories of his dead friends. In this case it’s particularly disturbing for the characters because the villains rule the Underworld. So here’s the dark twist in the Saint Seiya verse. When you die, you go to the underworld. There is no other place, your soul is sent down there for Hades to mess with.

If you’re really lucky, then you go to Elysium which is a fairly nice place, but again it is still under the rule of Hades. So if you were helpful to the heroes or did anything that attracted his attention, then you’re basically doomed. I thought this was a really sad moment even more so than usual because that means the heroes have no hope in this verse. When you die, the villains capture you. There’s no way to live forever so your only hope is for your opponent to have a soul destroying attack so that you are obliterated from reality. I feel like the heroes should have a realm of the dead so that they can save the innocents. Since they don’t, I’d say the responsibility falls on Athena since she should have wiped Hades and the Underworld out long ago. So this arc really gives you a lot to think about. This concept is revisited near the end of the series to really confirm this and how hopeless the whole situation is.

After some more battles the heroes would launch their next big offensive on Hades’ castle. Of course the tough part there is that it weakens all Saints so the pope decided to go on his own to lower those defenses first. A pretty risky move for sure and I feel like they should have just all attacked. I get that they’d be weakened but surely the odds are better than just the Pope going right? At least it was the best display he’s ever had as the guy took on tons of opponents. Now that was super impressive and he lived up to the hype. The siege doesn’t last very long though as the heroes were out of their depth again. This is certainly one war where the heroes don’t win every battle.

We then split to two different plots. In one of them, Tenma gets trained by the Gemini Saint while in the other one the two Gold Saints Degel and Kardia head over to Poseidon’s area to see if they can get some help or at least a weapon with which to fight Hades. I thought this was a good idea, why not try to make an alliance at this point right? Naturally Hades sent his own men there to cause some trouble so it wouldn’t be as easy as all of that. Poseidon’s an interesting wild card so it makes sense that each side is super interested. The way it plays out is also interesting. I would say it doesn’t make Poseidon look great but the whole reincarnation angle makes things tough for everyone in these things.

After that is the big boat arc where the heroes have to construct the boat so that they can reach Hades and the Lost Canvas. Of course that means that the villains want to get over there and stop them by any means necessary. This makes for a really solid arc with lots of battles and of course Hades steps in himself. That guy absolutely does not mind entering battles on the front lines, he seems to rather enjoy doing so if anything. I think that’s part of what gives the villains an edge in this series, having your leader fight alongside you is a big moral boost.

Finally that leads to another invasion of Hades’ castle but this time it’s the final one. The series isn’t afraid to add in a bunch of new elements at the very end of the series though. Were you wondering about Tenma’s parents? No? Well that makes sense since we saw Tenma at the orphanage but it turns out that he did have parents and they were both incredibly powerful fighters back in the day who are now on the side of evil. I thought this was super random personally but hey, it means we get more fight scenes which is always a plus. Naturally the climax is really crazy with a ton of action at all times which is good. That’s how you want to end the series.

The series really has a 7 Samurai kind of feel to it. One by one the Gold Saints continue to be bumped off during the war so you know that even if the heroes win, it will be at a huge cost. These wars certainly go all out every 200 years and you can also see why the characters would be utterly sick of them by this point. Most of the players change and yet they know about the history really well. For characters like Athena and Hades, it must feel repetitive even if they think each time will be the last one.

One thing I also liked about the war here is that it feels more like a war than in the classic version. What I mean by that is you have battles going on at different fronts with Athena and Alone (Acting as Hades) making moves directly. For example, at one point Alone is tired of waiting so he breaks into Athena’s domain on his own to fight against the Gold Saints and take her down. Later on you also have Athena taking the fight to him. Since Athena isn’t just kidnapped for the whole arc this time, it makes the war a little more strategic as they both have to make their moves to take the other out while protecting their domains. Also, seeing Hades actually confront the Gold Saints and bend them to his power helped to establish him as a big threat here.

So finally, why does this one beat the original Saint Seiya. Well, lets look at this area by area. Lost Canvas easily wins in terms of artwork, I don’t think many would debate that. There’s a world of difference between the two series. The OG has better Bronze Saints and I would say Seiya beats Tenma as a main character. This series has better Gold Saints who aren’t constantly betraying Athena and the heroes. The villains are also better in this one although it’s close. As a whole the Lost Canvass wins in the character cast.

I’d also say the plot is more engaging. With a war going on throughout the whole series, there is no time for breaks. While the original also had a lot of nonstop battles, this one took it to the next level. There are a ton of twists and turns around every corner too which keeps you off balance. Now, not every plot twist needs to be here to be honest like Mephistopheles and his whole plan. (His final twist was really good though) Others were a blast though like one that plays out like Aizen’s big plan from Bleach. Lets just say that there was more than one puppet master running around in the shadows. Finally, I’d say that this one was able to take the hype to the next level. It was able to do everything the original did in the Hades arc and then some. The first series had 3 gods fighting it out in the final arc, this one had close to 10. The characters had to keep on surpassing their limits because of how powerful the villains are. We had several factions by the end so it was hard to predict exactly what would happen.

Hades’ army also just looks more impressive. In the original they had the help of many Gold Saints and still couldn’t do much. Here they had many more powerful fighters which helped to make this an even war. I’d also say the massive upgrades to Athena, Pandora, and Alone help to put this ahead too. So, Lost Canvas just wins in more areas than it doesn’t. This is still a pretty close battle, I would say they’re absolutely still in the same league and everything. I would just have to lean towards The Lost Canvas for the win here and with the plot being a lot more dynamic and less formulaic, it also has more replay value as an added bonus.

Overall, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas is a spectacular title. Athena and Alone/Hades were big improvements in this version and I was also glad to see Pandora get a big role. Just look at the picture I put right above this paragraph. Could you have imagined Athena fighting on the front lines with the others before now? It’s really got top tier action at all points and the character roster is very solid. The art is excellent as well. You can’t go wrong with this one and you’ll be blasting through it at high speeds from start to finish. It sets a high bar for the other Saint Seiya spinoffs and I don’t think they will be able to match up but I look forward to seeing the attempt. Whether you read this after the original series or before it, you’ll really have a great time here. It’s no wonder that this Holy War is referenced a lot because it ended up being extremely important and this is really the peak of Saint Seiya.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold Review


It’s definitely good to have the Gold Saints back in action. They mostly just got wrecked a lot in the original series although some god to have their moment to shine in the Hades arc. This time they have a whole show to themselves where they can really get to cut loose and it works really well. The show can be rather formulaic so you know what to expect but it ends up being a great show from start to finish.

The show starts with Aiolia being mysteriously revived over in Asgard. He’s unsure of how this could have happened as he is sure that he died. Well, no matter. Aiolia has to head over to Hades to back up the bronze saints but he is asked by Lyfia to stay and save Asgard. The place has become very corrupt as the God Warriors serve Andreas now. Hilda is sick and unable to take control and Odin is sleeping as usual. If something isn’t done quickly, all of Asgard will fall as the villains raise up the world tree.

Usually Aiolia could just end this in an instant but it won’t be so easy this time. For starters, the World Tree absorbs the energy of the Gold Saints so their abilities are heavily nerfed. Making things even worse is that the God Warrior have their abilities amplified at the same time so what ends up happening is a double disadvantage. On the bright side, the rest of the Gold Saints have been resurrected as well. Fighting as a team has never been their strong suit but perhaps Aiolia can rally the group to save Asgard. Then they will head over to help Seiya and friends.

I may as well say now that they don’t get to help Seiya and friends but you probably guessed that since it would have completely changed the timeline. That could be fun in a way as a massive plot twist but keeping things separate isn’t a bad idea. It’s fun to just see the Gold Saints hanging out and we get more of their personalities here since there’s some down time. In the main series you certainly didn’t have time to see the Gold Saints just hang out and grab a drink. I would say the first part of the show is more of a creature of the week format as they beat up on a poor God Warrior with their own God armor and then end up fainting. Rinse and repeat until we get more structure.

It’s not a bad set up though and will remind you of the classic Saint Seiya structure. At no point would I say this show gets close to the original but it still works well. The first reason for this is since this is an original story, you don’t know how it’s really going to play out. After seeing the classic adventures in a few variations, it’s fun to see a brand new ordeal here. Even the tone and feel is a bit different since the main characters are the big shots here and not the Bronze Saints surpassing their limits all the time. We’ve got a bit of a mystery subplot with how Lyfia will randomly stare at the Saints once in a while with a dangerous look on her face and of course the tensions of Saints acting in another jurisdiction.

The animation isn’t great here but it works well enough. They put in some extra effort for the climax as well. I still wish we can get a truly top notch Saint Seiya animation at some point though. Some of the movies look great and take the lead there but I’m talking about a Studio Pierrot or Ufotable kind of production. With how flashy all of the Saint designs are it would be really easy to make the fights look amazing. Regardless, it works well enough.

As for the soundtrack, I wouldn’t say there are any real standout themes here. The music all feels almost free domain at times. The opening has a very good opening beat but then it fades from there. Also, there are a ton of sound effects in the song that make it hard to just listen to casually. I think they could have done better on this front. There are a few decent themes scattered within but I wouldn’t call this a very good soundtrack.

Before I jump into the characters part, I also have to give the series credit for directly referencing the old Asgard arc from the show. As an anime exclusive arc I’m sure they may have been tempted to ignore it but that arc was quite solid so I’m glad that it was still relevant. We learn about how these new God Warriors came into place and it makes sense since the Bronze Saints didn’t hold back against the last ones. It also reminds you that these guys would be easily dispatched if not for the tree messing up with the balance the whole time. Take that away and things would be different.

All right so Aiolia is the main character here and he makes sense as the pick. He’s easily the character who is the closest to being like one of the original characters. He is a hero who does the right thing and never wavers. That’s something that most of the other Gold Saints could learn a thing or two about. Aiolia also tends to lose quite a few fights here as a result but by exploding his cosmos he is usually able to win in round 2 or make a last second comeback. While most of the Saints seem fixated on doing whatever they want or protecting Athena, Aiolia seems to actually believe in justice which is important.

He was always one of my favorite Gold Saints and he certainly looks good here. We also get to see Aiolia’s older brother Aiolos. I was surprised that he was resurrected since he died so long ago but I was definitely happy to see him. He’s as tough as you’ll remember from back in the day and he gets a good role here. It’s not a particularly big role until the end so you have to wait, but it’s worth it. It’s safe to say that he’ll always be the best Gold Saint. Not saying he’s the strongest but he’s the coolest.

I never cared for Mu much. Usually he prefers to just watch all of the fights instead of doing anything which is annoying in itself. Then he went full on traitor in the Hades arc and kept on sinking and sinking. Well, in this show he’s not bad. He still seems a bit weaker than the other Gold Saints but the guy is more of a defensive fighter so that makes sense. When your main technique is a big shield…it’s inevitable that somebody’s going to break it. That’s how these things always go. Mu does his detective work in the show and helps find the weakness to the tree though.

Usually Dohko is in the same camp as Mu in terms of just watching everything the whole time but he gets a little more involved here. As one of the more powerful Gold Saints I expected him to do more than what he did. He’s still around for some battles though. Then there’s Aldebaran who is still the strong man of the group but his fighting style is what really lets him down most of the time. The guy always crosses his arms as his fighting stance which doesn’t work. I mean his big attack is then unfolding his arms with a great push. What kind of combo is that?

Aldebaran badly needs some new material. I think you can only get away with that if you’re one of the stronger Gold Saints and it seems like this guy would get smoked by most of the others. Scorpio Milo is one of the Gold Saints who looks really solid the whole time. He just wants a good fight and is eager to fight the villains. He also takes Camus’ betrayal very seriously and just wants to beat the guy up. He ended up being a lot more engaging than I expected him to be.

Unfortunately Camus is the perfect contrast here as that guy looks awful. It wasn’t enough for him to be a traitor once, he has to do it again? His whole character here is that he’s with the Gold Saints. Yeah, they explain why but the reason is as shallow as it gets and I don’t buy into it being reasonable. So I was rooting for the Gold Saints to absolutely devastate this guy in the fights. Just get him out of there asap. There was no coming back from this.

Shura is one of the Gold Saints who doesn’t get much of a role. With 13 episodes and 12 Saints it makes sense that some wouldn’t get much of a role. Especially when some Saints get a considerable role so there is even less time for the others. Shura gets to prove that his sword is the best though. Aprodite gets the smallest role but to help make up for it, the writers made sure that his moment really counted at the end. So in a way you could say that Aphrodite ended up being one of the more crucial pieces in the whole show.

Deathmask gets an entire character arc here. He starts off as a very annoying guy who refuses to hel and just gets in the way the whole time. Definitely the kind of character that will make you shake your head. Fortunately after that he starts his journey of recovery although it takes him a long enough time that things get a bit tragic for him. By the end he’s learned what it means to be a hero but it sure takes him a long time. He was still one of my least favorite characters by the end of it. He’s lucky that Aiolia didn’t knock him out when they first met.

Speaking of which, the show continues the urban legend about how a fight between Golden Saints will take 100 days or something like that. It’s a great story but we’ve seen many Gold Saint battles at this point and they’re still over rather quickly. 100 days would really imply that their powers and abilities are exactly equal but this just isn’t the case. I think the Saints tend to overestimate themselves a bit which ultimately ends up coming back to bite them. I do like the bravado though.

Now we come to the big 2 Saints who get a lot of hype in the show. First up is Gemini Saga and whenever he shows up all of the villains start to panic. I like that he is given this much respect because he has definitely earned it. Gemini Saga was the highest ranking Saint who was even in line to become the Pope after all. (Aiolos was the #1 choice though) While there is always a fun debate to be had on whether Virgo Shaka is stronger, either way they are near the top. Even while nerfed Gemini Saga was able to hold his own against various opponents here. He always has a very cool demeanor to him and I was glad that he still had that presence here.

Finally you have Virgo Shaka who really did look quite good here. He was even portrayed as a bit of a mastermind and really came through when the team needed him. His attacks have the most variety to them and since he is the man closest to god in this verse, he is able to even handle the various demi gods and actual gods that show up in this show. Ultimately he still isn’t unbeatable or anything but when he shows up you can expect that the villains are going to have a tough time.

Andreas is the main villain of the series and he’s your classic evil dictator. The guy acts really nice the whole time but he is tricking people to be used in live experiments and only cares about conquering the world. His nice personality is all an act but unfortunately one that works well. Everyone trusts the guy and the sad irony is he probably could have become the King legitimately with how people liked the guy. I guess he would never settle for being second fiddle to Odin though. So Andreas is okay but I wouldn’t say he is super memorable.

Loki makes for a much more interesting villain and that guy is also a lot more powerful. As another true god in the Seiya verse, you would expect him to be strong too. Perhaps not as strong as Hades, Poseidon, Zeus, Athena, and Odin as the 5 great gods here but he would be about as strong as Hades’ two right hand men. Of course we canm’t take this standing too seriously as Athena always looks super weak and Odin can’t do anything for himself. Loki also appears to be stronger than Hypnos and Thanatos, that or Seiya and the gang are just that good.

Either way you should be satisfied with how Loki looks. He shows up and starts to dominate right out of the gate. His abilities are the real deal and the fight actually goes on for quite a while. He’s got the kind of confidence you would expect from such a villain too. On the hero side we don’t have any gods to aid the heroes but we do have the heroine Lyfia who is always around for moral support. There are quite a few twists about her seemingly evil mode. For her normal state though, she’s nice enough. The show starts to mess around with a possible romance involving her but never really goes through with it so we can write this off as normal admiration.

She certainly owes the heroes a lot for saving her people and the people of Asgard owe her even more since nobody was helping. Lyfia was really the only person trying to stop the evil in the kingdom which paints a very bad light on the rest of these guys. She can’t really fight but considering that everyone here’s an easy planet buster it’s not like she should be expected to battle. Just summoning everyone here was enough.

Frodi is the main God Warrior here and while that means he’s a big sucker who bought into all of the villain plans, at least he means well. I don’t usually have a lot of patience for these guys who are just following the rules and don’t think about the truth. I should think the whole thing is pretty obvious when Hilda is “sick” and Lyfia is trying to help take down Asgard’s ruler. Shouldn’t it make you think a bit if the royal family isn’t happy with what’s going on? I would have just liked this guy to try thinking ahead a bit more. In terms of ability and design though this guy was fun.

Fafner is the worst member. Every villain group tends to have that one creep and that’s Fafner in this case. The guy likes to run human experiments to make the villain tech work better. He uses people to power up the tree and to increase his own energy. The guy can’t fight nearly as well as the others and usually gets taken down quickly but any scene with this guy is usually annoying.

Heracles is the power member of the villains but I didn’t find him to be very impressive personally. He gets wrecked by Aldebaran really early on and never came back from that. He is one of the only God Warriors to not get any kind of convincing win. The guy talks a big game that he just can’t back up and doesn’t have many long range options. When you’re weaker than the others and are the “power hitter” of the group then that’s a problem.

Surtr is the guy who guilt trips Camus the whole time but I don’t even blame him for that. That’s all on Camus for being a chump here. In battle Surtr is decent. He prefers not to just jump into battle and relies on strategy but that shouldn’t be mistaken for being weak. He just fights in a smart way but if he has to get into the ring personally then he will. This is why the guy’s such a big threat. I liked him well enough and he was one of the better members of the group.

Another solid member was Sigmund and this guy has more of an honor code than the others which is always appreciated. This guy wants to win on his own merits and as a reward of sorts he gets to fight Gemini Saga. I liked this guy through and through. Of course he is still on the wrong side of things and didn’t think any of this through but at least he isn’t using any cheap tricks and that goes a long way.

Baldr is the last big member of the group and he’s the one who became an actual immortal which makes him very dangerous. His fight against Virgo Shaka is one of the best parts in the whole series as a result. Both of these guys are a lot stronger than the average fighter and you can feel it in each of their moves. They can counter any attack thrown their way which leads to a lot of back and forth. I liked Baldr quite a bit and he has a fairly emotional backstory. I thought it was sadder than most of the others at least.

So the show has a very solid cast of heroes and villains which always goes a long way to making the show great as well. As you can probably guess, there is a lot of nonstop action here as well. The battles never really end as each episode will throw something at you. Then the climax is a bunch of other battles in a row before we get the big team up. Seeing the Gold Saints team up is also a very nice moment. Soul of Gold did well to take the premise of having the Gold Saints in the front lines and making the most of it. It’s why this works so well as a spinoff.

Overall, Soul of Gold was definitely great. I really didn’t have any big issues with it. Of course it would be nice if the show was longer and could get more arcs but it would probably get more and more difficult to do this without having them get in the way of the main series. After a while it may be forced if the heroes aren’t able to get to Hades. The ending also could have been a bit different, I’d prefer many different options to how things played out here. In a way it’s because it feels like a bit of a cop out. The classic “If you didn’t watch the show then you didn’t miss anything” kind of feel. I always think making the whole show not feel important after all is a shame. It doesn’t take away from the experience but it would be nice to tell someone they have to watch this to find out what’s going on in the Saint Seiya saga. With the way the ending goes (Don’t worry, it’s not a dream) you can’t really say that but I would still highly recommend this to anyone who wants a good action story. In this case it is highly recommended you watch the classic Saint Seiya show first though.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Heaven Chapter – Overture Review


After all these years it’s time to check out the original sequel to the Saint Seiya manga/anime. After the big battle with Hades, Seiya was greatly injured and this movie explores just how bad those injuries were since the manga just ended immediately so we didn’t know exactly how this played out. I am glad that he gets up sooner than later though as writing Seiya out for the movie would not have been a great move. The film’s definitely a lot of fun, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best Seiya movie but it’s cool to see another original adventure and the ending’s definitely hype.

The movie starts with showing Seiya in a wheelchair and he is completely despondent. He has lost his ability to use his abilities and can’t even walk. One day, a group of fighters show up to assassinate him. These are angels led by Artemis. The gods have decided that Seiya and the other saints must be punished for taking out 3 gods during the Hades arc. Athena doesn’t like this but as always she chickens out and goes along with the villains. After meekly handing over her throne and saints, Athena is gone and Seiya is fortunately able to get up. He has to find Athena and take down Artemis and her troops. Can he pull this off now that he is truly back to being a bronze saint? (Even weaker than one to be honest) Also, where are his fellow Saints when he needs them?

If you can’t tell, I was not a fan of Athena at all here. Once again she is betraying Seiya….why? By now you’ve got to trust him since he has saved the day so many times. This is one main thing I would hold against the film which is that everyone’s betraying Seiya again. Aside from Athena you also have the other bronze and silver saints beating him up. Seiya really can’t catch a break and as always he’s got to do everything by himself. It would be nice if everyone could have his back for a change.

Athena in particular has to get the more criticism though. She saw what the Saints did against Hades previously. She should have confidence that they can beat Artemis and whatever army of gods are behind her. Just summon the Saints and announce a full war against them. Otherwise you lose any kind of turf advantage and Athena handing over her staff was not a good move. She’s just lucky that Artemis allowed her to take it back later on.

The other Bronze Saints like Unicorn do look bad here though. Come on now, you’re that eager to start working for Artemis now? A true Saint never stops their allegiance so calling this Artemis’ temple now and things like that make them look bad. I also thought Marin and Shaina looked really bad for going along with this. Enough about those Saints though, Seiya himself looks great which is good. He’s determined as always. Seiya knows how to take a beating, every enemy has the advantage at first and that’s true here as well. Initially he takes a lot of hits but that’s because he’s so weakened.

I can see why this nerf was necessary because otherwise Seiya was stronger than the gods by the end of the series. It should be easy for him to utterly dismantle all of the Angels and take down Artemis. The only opponent worthy of him would be Apollo and even then my money would be on Seiya. Because of this though I have no power level issues with Seiya’s fights. It all makes sense given what we know about his situation.

I do have some power level issues with the rest of the Saints though. Ikki, Hyoga, Shiryu, and Andromeda should all be close to Seiya’s level. Not quite as strong of course but strong enough to be taking these guys down for the count. Instead Hyoga and Shiryu are initially knocked out off screen and then Ikki and Andromeda are having a tough time winning a 2 v 1 against one of the opponents. They don’t have their gold armor at the ready this time (although I’d make the case that they should be able to awaken it with their burning spirit) but they should still be winning these fights. Only Apollo should be able to take them out at this point.

Still, it is nice to see these guys. Their role is very small but at least they all have an action scene which is good. Based on how the film starts to end, I do think they would have done a lot more in the sequel though. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have continued though. Even if we have a different timeline, just have some branching paths. It may not be canon or something but it’d still be nice to see. Or go the Fate route where you have 3 initial paths and then like 5-8 branching futures. The more expansive the franchise the better after all.

The animation here is really solid and I would agree with anyone who says that this is the best that the series has looked. The animation is really solid and this feels like a true theater experience. The colors are sharp and the backgrounds have a whole lot of detail to them. The fight scenes are also on point as well and it’s always fun to see Seiya’s classic Meteor Fist with the accompanying sound effect. The soundtrack is also good here. We get a nice song at the end and the classic fighting tunes are always good. The movie definitely delivers here.

On the other hand, the film’s only real weakness comes in part from the animation although it might not be related. At times the film tries a little too hard to be super grand and emotional. We get lingering shots at the water as it splashes or the moon in the sky. Characters will intently stand in the distance and it did make the pacing feel a little slow at the start. Everything’s just so dramatic and I think it gets to be a little too overdone at some points. Of course this isn’t the kind of thing that would hurt the film’s score but you tend to see this in films where they are really proud of the animation. Happens a lot in Pokemon as we stare at the grass blades twirling in the wind.

The film can also be a little cheeky with mild fanservice when Shaina and Marin are fighting. Could just be more dramatic shots that the movie is going for and since we see that for the environment, it’s possible that it just extends to the characters too. Nothing quite like the obvious camera angles you’d see in SAO though so it’s super mild at best. Saint Seiya is a franchise that really doesn’t have much fanservice in general and has always stayed strong there.

So we’ve talked about the heroes and how Seiya steals the show here. (Ikki’s role is just too small for him to take center stage this time. It was nice to see him and Andromeda teaming up as equals though. It shows some really good character development for Andromeda at this point) Now lets talk about the villains. Artemis is like Pandora in that she acts a lot more like how you would expect the evil god to be. She isn’t afraid to go on the battle field and talk tough to the heroes. I liked her well enough as one of the villains.

Then you have the Angels. From the 3, only the one who fights Seiya really gets a role. The other two look tough and talk tough but they’re obliterated in short order. The angel who fought Seiya actually got a twist involving Marin though and got a lot of moments to himself. He made for a good villain. Not good enough where I’d remember his name though although I could swear that they just called him “Angel” each time while the other two had true names. Either way he made for a good villain.

Finally you have Apollo who shows up at the end. He talks tough and backs it up with how he looks there. My money would still be on Seiya to beat him if he was at full power, but as discussed that wasn’t the case this time. Apollo works as a good final boss and I’d like to see where he stacks up with the rest of the gods who are so upset at this state of affairs. Seiya does land a good hit but it doesn’t seem likely that he would get a chance to win until the sequels. Apollo’s appearance is extremely brief as the film just ends but he makes the most of it.

I should mention the Gold Saints have a quick cameo here but they are quickly discarded as the gods have the last laugh. I would have liked to have seen them fight a bit or something but I guess there wasn’t much they could do there. It was a fun little cameo but at the same time it feels like they didn’t get to do anything. At least have them send the heroes some gold armor or something, that would have been cool. It’s been a rough road for the gold saints over the last few arcs….actually for the whole series to be honest.

As for the ending, it’s intentionally vague but here’s my take on it. Apollo decided to neutralize Seiya as a threat by erasing his memory along with Athena’s after defeating them. That’s why they’re now in a flower field just hanging out. It means the other Saints are going to have to hurry but it’s a fair bet to say there’s a slight time skip before the final scene so I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Saints were already defeated as well. In the second film I’d expect to see the 5 Saints battling 5 gods or something like that. The more I think about a possible sequel, the more hyped I get.

Overall, Heaven’s Overture is a great film. We’ve got all the hype action you could want and a great cast of characters. The animation is excellent and there’s always something going on. The film can be a bit dramatic but I can appreciate the boldness of nerfing Seiya for a while. It’s better than just having these guys wreck him, now that would have been iffy. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get a novel continuation or something at some point. Either way if you’re a Saint Seiya fan then you’ll want to check this one out at some point. It’s a nice look at a possible future path.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 3: Elysion Review


It’s time to wrap up the Saint Seiya saga. Chapter 3 closes out the Hades arc. It took 3 OVAs to knock out the arc but I’m glad that they persisted and kept churning these out until it was over. The arc ends in an epic fashion and is certainly not an adventure you are likely to forget. It’s been an emotional ride with the Saints from start to finish but every adventure has to end at some point. With great fights, story, soundtrack, and animation, you are in for a very solid time here.

The OVA picks up immediately where the last one ended. The heroes are finally closing in on Elysion, but are confronted by some more spectres. Shiryu stays behind to fight them while the other Saints arrive to take down Hades and the other two gods who serve him. Meanwhile Phoenix Ikki is getting ready to make his own move but what secrets of the past bind him together with Pandora? Her assistance could be the critical point of the war or if she stays evil, that could signal the final defeat of the Saints. Will Athena’s awful plan look any better in hindsight? Time to find out!

With only 6 episodes the OVA has to move quickly but we still get a good amount of time for the fights which is the important thing. There are a lot of characters running around at this point but the OVA juggles them well. At this point the only plot you probably won’t care about is with the other bronze and silver saints at home. They have a crucial moment where they protect against Hades’ attacks but otherwise you’re ready to go back to the Saints where all the battles are taking place.

Shiryu gets a big role to start things off with his fight against 3 spectres at the same time. I always thought that was a really impressive moment in the manga and it definitely keeps that same intensity in the OVA. Each spectre is no joke power-wise so beating 3 is impressive. You don’t expect the Saints to get a whole lot to do now that we’re near the end so it’s cool that Shiryu got to have one last hurrah. He is around during the climax fight as well but this is a match he can say that he won completely on his own.

For example, Andromeda and Hyoga get moments of their own of course but not in quite the same way. Hyoga takes on one of the top 3 Spectres and even manages to win on a technicality that they can’t exist in the void since they have no god blood while Hyoga does. Then you have Andromeda who is closely tied to Hades with a lot of twists there. This was a good way for Andromeda to finally be relevant though so I was all for it. In a power sense he’ll never be one of the top Saints but he at least did well in trying to hold Hades back the whole time. Ultimately Ikki was never going to sacrifice him though.

Phoenix Ikki looks great here as always. You have to give him a lot of props, right up through the final arc he is holding his own with Seiya and getting involved in the battles. He actually gets to go up against Hades and is the final Saint left standing with the main character. I like Ikki’s confidence and he also tends to be the most perceptive of the Saints. He was able to get here on his own after all which is impressive and he officially took down the final Spectres as he swore to avenge Pandora.

Even the scenes of him as a kid protecting Andromeda are really intense since most kids would have folded at that point. Ikki really did the rest of the Saints proud and I would expect no less from such a true fighter. He always reminds me why he is my favorite Saint Seiya character although Kanon and Aiolos are both very close. Saint Seiya really has a stacked cast here. Then of course you can’t forget Seiya himself who does well here as always. He really has to put up with a lot of punishment but always manages to get up.

He embodies the saint saying that no attack will work on him twice. He may go down after the first hit but once he gets up then you know that there is no chance left for the villains. Seiya’s an inspiring character who leaves his defeated opponents to trail behind him. Ultimately he steps up when it counts at the end of this OVA as well and does well in his golden mode. I would say he tanked the ending and made it back safely but there are definitely different ways to interpret the ending as you see the credits start to roll. Either way it makes for an emotional end to Seiya’s character arc.

The only aspect that isn’t very satisfying is how Seika reappears. So throughout the entire series Seiya has been looking for her but she was nowhere to be found. Even Saori with her vast resources and wealth could not locate her and we find out that Seika just had amnesia and was wandering around for a while. That’s really not a very satisfying resolution, certainly not the one you would expect to see after such a big build up. She comes in clutch with motivating Seiya to fight on but it just felt like this was a forgotten plot point that was thrown in at the last second.

As for the villains, in general I liked all of the important ones. The throwaway Spectres were mainly forgettable but the three judges and then the two gods were on point. The only exception to this would have to be Hades himself. I just never cared much for the villain and seeing as how I didn’t like Poseidon much I guess you could say that Saint Seiya has a bit of a main villain problem. It’s not that Hades is weak or anything but his goals and motivations aren’t super interesting.

So he wants to create a great eclipse so that the underworld will rise and he will rule over all. Athena tries to talk him out of the plan a few times and he refuses but it’s hard to even get a gauge on the guy’s character. He seems to be annoyed when anyone attacks him since the guy sees himself as being above everyone. He has the arrogance of a god type villain but none of the usual charisma that you need with it. I like his character design at least. Hades looks the part and appears as a very intimidating threat. He’s just not interesting and always lets things escalate until it’s far too late for him to stop the heroes. Even in the Lost Canvass he didn’t get to do much and that series went out of its way to develop everyone a whole lot.

For a main villain who improved here, I have to say that Poseidon was impressive. I didn’t like him in the last arc but it was cool to see him pitch in a bit here to help out when the chips were down. It shows that at the end of the day he will protect the planet and that makes sense since if Hades wins that will be the end for everyone. The oceans won’t be exempt from such a fate. It’s a very small cameo but I thought it was an effective one.

As for the gods Thanatos and Hypnos, both of them were fun. Hypnos certainly seems to be the wiser one and also a little more powerful. He warns Thanatos time and time again not to get too overconfident and yet the guy does so anyway. This is often the folly of any fighter who goes up against Athena’s saints. Lost Canvass retroactively makes this look even worse for Thanatos since he never learns his lessons. In this case, I prefer Thanatos’ confidence to Hades though. Thanatos has the charisma that Hades was lacking and I just like to see him talk a good game. He was able to back it up for a while as well with how his fight against Seiya went. Ultimately he gave it his best effort but he just wasn’t strong enough. Hypnos also gets a good fight but it is quite a bit shorter.

Then we have Pandora who I always thought was a very interesting character. At first glance she is just the evil version of Athena only in her case, Pandora was pretty much forced into this life. Her whole family was murdered and two gods threatened to make things quite rough for her if she didn’t help them out. While you can’t really throw out excuses for her since Pandora still acted as a villain, there’s not much stronger coercion than that. Unlike Athena she can actually fight as well. The Spectres are actively afraid of Pandora and she ends up being rather helpful in the arc. Without her, Ikki wouldn’t have made it to the end and without Ikki, Seiya would have certainly been defeated. So it’s no exaggeration to say that she saved the day here. That’s why she is a very memorable character and also a solid villain. Ultimately you know that things won’t end very happily for her but that’s just how it goes.

Finally, to answer the question on if Athena’s mission/plan looks any better in hindsight….it doesn’t. So lets look at the plan here. Athena decided to destroy herself and allowed the evil Saints to murder almost all of her guards so she could go to the Underworld. From there she would travel to meet Hades and ask him nicely to stop his plan of destroying the world. She would let him murder her and in exchange he would stop and allow the world to continue. I have so many problems with this plan but the biggest one is that there’s no reason to assume this would ever succeed. I don’t think Hades has any problems with lying so he could just say “Sure, I’ll be good” and then after murdering Athena he goes through with the plan.

Alternately he doesn’t even need to lie. He could just wink and say he’s going to destroy the world anyway. Athena is far too weak to stop him and she has helped decimate her own forces. Athena is probably one of the worst rulers I’ve ever seen. She is consistently attacking her own members by proxy like when she refused to let Seiya help out and her plans are poorly thought out. At no point in this entire scheme did she do something that made sense. Stopping the Spectres from the start would have been the absolute best plan of hers. Given how powerful the Gold Saints are shown to be, they likely would have won the battle.

The villains can regenerate which is true, but not when Shaka uses his beads so there is a counter. It’s not full proof but the odds of victory would have still been terrific. Athena’s Saints are simply stronger and that’s all you really need to know in such a battle. I never quite forgave Athena’s plan here. At the end of the day it just resulted in countless deaths that were completely needless. None of the characters call her out on this which is probably the worst part.

As expected, the animation is solid here. Considering how much newer it is than the show, it may not look as spectacular as you would hope but it does the job. The character designs are on point and the fights are good. The armors are really shiny which is always cool. If anything that’s the first part that always catches your attention for any Saint Seiya product so you want to make sure that it looks on point. The OVA did well here so I was satisfied.

As for the soundtrack, it’s got all the usual tunes you would expect from the show so that’s good. The battle theme and every other song are just iconic by this point. Eventually I’d like to see the series experiment with some more songs but considering that this was the end of an era, I really don’t see an issue with bringing the same tracks back. It can work as a very nostalgic kind of thing.

Overall, This was a great way to end the Hades arc. It really ended up being a blast and it’s good to have made it to the end. It’s easy to see why the Saint Seiya franchise has expanded so far. The characters are fun and the battles are always intense. The plots are easy to follow so it’s the kind of title you can pick up and watch at any time. The fights are dramatic and the stakes are always super high. Sometimes pride will keep the characters from making the right decisions but you know that the bronze saints will always be around to reign in the Gold fighters if they go too far off the path. If you haven’t seen this OVA yet, then you will want to change that so you can say that you’ve ended the saga once and for all. It’s only 6 episodes so it won’t take long and it’s almost all nonstop battles. After all, this is the climax now so there’s no time to rest.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 2: Inferno Review


It’s time to return to the world of Saint Seiya. The first OVA was a solid start to the Hades saga. I really liked the creative use of CGI which helped to mask the lack of animation at times. It also gave the OVA a very grand feel. Well, that is gone from this special but the animation is much better so it feels like we’re back to the original show in a good way. I would say this OVA improves on the first one even considering that the amazing clash of Athena Exclamations has already passed.

The OVA starts off with with the saints making it into the heart of the Underworld. Their mission is clear, they need to take Hades down and bring Athena back to the world of the living. It won’t be easy though as the Underworld has many castles and specters at the ready to foil their every move. Seiya and Shun are the characters in one plot while Shiryu and Andromeda work with Gemini Kanon in the other. Will the divide and conquer tactic work (Not like it’s really their choice though) or will they now be picked off. Also, where is the man known as Phoenix Ikki?

Maybe part of why this OVA feels like we’re going back to the roots of the show is because we’re going through the whole “Take down each Specter at each castle” routine that each arc of the show always went through. It’s nice and nostalgic to see the characters going through the motions. The big difference here is that we actually have a Gold Saint who can hold his own this time. Kanon really does well in each of the fights and reminds me why he is one of the best Saints in the show. The guy seems more reasonable than most and gets several fights in this OVA.

Before going further, I have to say that it’s still such a cool move when the heroes start taking their opponents down while keeping their eyes closed. It’s probably more of a stylistic approach then their literally closing their eyes at key moments but the animations have always kept this detail and I appreciate it. What’s more hype than letting a villain know that you don’t even have to keep your eyes open to win a fight right?

All right, so back to the plot. Most of the episodes are focused on the Seiya and Shun plot. They make quite a lot of progress through the temples. There is a time limit though so they have to beat these specters quickly. It’s just good nostalgic fun to see them going from place to place. They also make for a good duo with Shun as a support type while Seiya is all about offense. Meanwhile Shun and Shiryu are also on the case but are having trouble defeating any of the specters. It’s a rough stretch for them but up til now they’ve never seemed to be so out of their depth so it’s kind of interesting to see them like this. Then you have Athena and Shaka moving forward with their own plan to defeat Hades which takes a while for any pay off but it’s always fun to have their cameos.

As always Seiya is a great character here. He’s always the last one to give up and keeps on fighting until he gets the edge. It takes a lot of resolve to always be getting up with the ways that the opponents disrespect his Meteor Punch all the time. It never works the first time and yet Seiya keeps at it. You also see a lot more of his personality here as he trolls the judge specter who wanted everyone to keep it down. I haven’t seen Seiya like that since the pre arc.

He has a mischievous side to him after all but rarely gets to show this given that he is in nonstop fights all of the time. This arc actually have him a little time to slow down and have fun with this which was cool. Then there is Shun who still manages to lose all of the time but at least he gives Seiya a lot of moral support. His chains also do save him on more than one occasion so this is far from Shun’s worst appearance. I wish he could get some more clear cut wins but this OVA does throw him a bone so you can expect him to contribute.

Probably for the first time Shun actually does a lot more than Shiryu and Hyoga. I almost don’t need to mention them because these two get one shotted by one of the 3 Judges and then don’t do anything for the rest of the ova. Kanon hard carries them through this arc and they would have been dead many times otherwise. At this point it feels like the gap between them and Seiya is massive. Not so much in pure cosmos but in terms of drive as Seiya gets up while these two stay down. They will have to prove themselves in the next ova.

Ikki takes a while to appear but when he does show up it is certainly worth the wait. He comes in as if he is one of the most powerful Gold Saints. That’s the kind of ability he has and Ikki can really shake the whole battlefield to its core. He even has an expanded origin story that includes Pandora. It feels a bit out of the blue but makes for one of the more suspenseful flashbacks in the series. Ikki was really tough even as a kid.

Part of why Ikki is my favorite character in the series is due to his grand entrances and this one doesn’t disappoint either. He just seems to be a few steps ahead of the other Bronze Saints at all times and knew just when to show up. The villains get lucky that he is summoned away later on or the Specters would have kept taking some heavy hits. Additionally while Ikki is the tough member of the crew and makes the tough calls, he will always put Shun above everything else. Ultimately he makes the right decisions here and it’s a great moment.

The only Saint who deals out as much damage would be Kanon who steals the show as I mentioned earlier. He talks tough to all of the Specters including the 3 powerful Judges. He overpowers their techniques and is even able to fight without his armor. As someone who was not one of the original 12 Gold Saints, Kanon has to deal with not being given the same level of respect as the others and handled it well. It never feels like he will turn to the dark side again and has instead become one of Athena’s most reliable fighters. He has really come a long way here and while he may not do much more for the rest of the series, you can be really satisfied with his role. The guy beat up a whole army of Specters like it was nothing and the judges even have to tell them to leave Kanon alone.

Dohko is still around but he really doesn’t do as much as you would expect in this special. He provides some weapons which are useful during the climax which will have to do. All of the Gold Saints get one last hurrah here before leaving things to the bronze saints. Virgo Shaka’s is the most memorable though as the guy actually did well against Hades. I liked that he didn’t entertain the idea of stabbing Athena for an instant and just went straight for Hades. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like breaking the rules so it’s a powerful moment.

Honestly this is why I still really don’t like Athena’s plan. It just seems like an awful way to waste most of her own men. Shaka would have done a lot better if Athena wasn’t getting in his way. Her plan to effectively beg for mercy is awful. What’s to stop Hades from claiming he will save the world before murdering her? By the time Athena realizes the flaw in this plan it’s too late because she’s already stabbed. From the start I had major reservations about this plan and this ova did not help matters at all. If anything it just makes every traitor gold saint and Athena look even worse. I’ll probably go more into this after the final ova since we’ll see her complete plan but it’s not looking promising.

Now as for the villains, first up we have Charon who may just be the guy that drives the boat but don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is weak because that is far from the case. He can fight really well and even gives Seiya some trouble. If not for some cheap shots I think the fight would have been over quicker but I give Charon some credit for being a little honorable. That’s more than you can say for most Specters and I thought he was really entertaining.

Then you have Rene who is mostly memorable for all the scenes with Seiya trolling him. It really was one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. The guy’s abilities are good too with how he can toss you around dimensions and use that whip of his. It ties into one of Kanon’s better scenes but without the illusion he may have even beaten Seiya and Shun. Never underestimate the powers of a good illusion.

Pandora is a memorable villain with how much hype she gets. She really does have the specters on a short leash but it seems more like a respect thing than actual power. Unlike Lost Canvass where she can really fight, here she seems to be the ultimate glass cannon. If she can hit you with the harp then she has the edge but otherwise even a normal attack from a Bronze saint can take her down. She spends a good chunk of this special looking shocked or trying to land a sneak attack.

Pandora is a nice change of pace within the villains and I like her well enough but I do think the series could have done more with her as the counterpart to Athena. She is ruthless though and has a lot more agency so that’s still an improvement. In any continuity Pandora is always better than Athena. I doubt Athena would have stabbed the suspicious package the way Pandora did. The tactic may not have worked but it was worth a shot.

A fairly minor villain was Sphinx who did have a good ability to rend the opponents unconscious. If not for Lyra being around he would have been difficult to defeat. You may not remember him for long but Sphinx was reasonable. I had more issues with Lyra in the end. The guy has a tragic backstory but you mean to tell me that he never suspected that the whole thing may not have been an accident? Basically he and his girlfriend had to leave the underworld without looking back but sure enough she did by mistake and turned into stone. This was due to a random bright light.

Naturally it was one of the villains but really Lyra? No suspicions on that? I feel like he should have realized and made a move a lot sooner. His plan was actually not that bad but ultimately it just didn’t work the way he wanted it to. As a silver saint the guy is really impressive, I dare say that he would beat some of the Gold Saints in a battle.

The final one of the normal specters is Valentine who gave Seiya a really good fight. Now granted that Seiya was super weakened and in enemy territory but I think it’s still worth mentioning. You have to have great physical stats to even do that much and you can see why Valentine is such a trusted fighter in the army.

That takes us to the big 3 Judges. Of the 3, Minos hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but his puppet techniques are really lethal. Even Gold Saints are unable to break through his strings. Aiacos has his burning techniques like the Garuda wing and then Rhadamanthys really feels like the strongest member of the 3. He’s also the best one as the guy gets real development and even a true rivalry with Kanon. I like the idea of having a big 3 among the Specters because it really builds up the hype well.

Aiacos has his own rivalry with Ikki and it was a solid fight with a lot of back and forth. Unlike most Specters these guys won’t go down to a single counter attack. As for Rhadamanthys, I liked that he just wanted a good fight and he takes great offense to Kanon saying that the Gold Saints would have wrecked him if their powers weren’t limited. It’s the whole reason he wants to fight Kanon and that’s always a great motivation for me. I was absolutely on board with this.

Finally we have Hades who is the big bad of this saga. He finally shows himself in the second half of the special. I would say it’s worth the wait but he’s not particularly memorable just yet. The guy speaks in a very grand fashion and has a divine aura that forces opponents to back off but we haven’t seen him fight yet. As a god in the series he doesn’t really need to I suppose but he better keep his guard up. I just wish Athena would look tough like this since theoretically she should be about as powerful as he is.

Hades has a great fake out involving a dream which was cool. Ultimately he may get lucky on more than one occasion but you don’t get to be King without having some good luck at times right? I look forward to seeing more of him in the next special. He may not match the 3 Judges but it’s always good to finally meet the big bad and see what his plan is. An eclipse is a fairly original way to cause death and destruction.

There are some meanwhile scenes back on Earth but I haven’t mentioned them much because they don’t really add anything. It’s nice to see that they’re still alive and all but trust me, they won’t be impacting the story in any real way. They’re mainly just here to remind you that they’re around. The best scene on Earth is really the flashbacks with Ikki and Pandora. Those scenes are almost like something out of a horror with how dark the city was that night and how creepy Pandora can be. Ikki having to deal with such painful attacks as a kid is still something else, that kid had grit!

As mentioned earlier, the animation is much better here than last time. We finally have a lot of really good hand to hand battles like the old days and good movement with the energy blasts. It feels like the TV show has come back for real and that definitely feels good. The attacks look solid and the characters’ desperation is really illustrated well. Saint Seiya is a series that really relies on characters giving each other a lot of motivation and pep talks and so you can expect them here as well. They’re handled very effectively.

As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly a lot of classic tunes so they should sound familiar. The opening though really stands out. It’s incredibly high energy and works really well. In general this ova has a lot of energy and helps excel the series. When I say that this ova is near perfect it’s because it shines in all aspects. The Hades are really was quite excellent. Part of what makes it so great is again because it isn’t purely about the Bronze Saints this time. You’ve got the Gold Saints making moves, Athena, Hades, even the Specters get their own development and character moments. It makes this feel like a really complete adventure.

Overall, This will definitely leave you hyped for the third ova to conclude the Saint Seiya saga. I’m ready to see how exciting that one will be. You should probably watch the first ova to really get what is happening here. It won’t make Athena’s decisions look any better but at least you’ll have the context. The ending to this ova is quite striking, Athena’s last scene in particular may take you by surprise. Things aren’t looking great for the heroes but as long as they keep trying there’s always a chance. This ova is just a blast.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya Review


Saint Seiya is one of the all time greats. When you hear the name “Saint Seiya” you can’t help but freeze and look around. That’s how big this title is. It’s effectively like an old school DBZ and is probably one of the older manga titles that I’ve completed. In some ways you can feel the age like with how the arcs tend to have very repetitive events going on like the classic JLA comics, but the battles are always hype. Even if you can see how things are going to go, the execution is so amazing that you have to tip your cap to this one. Saint Seiya is a masterpiece that will not be forgotten.

The series starts off by introducing us to Seiya. He grew up with a lot of orphans who were being raised by Saori’s estate in order to become powerful warriors. He heads off to gain one of the legendary cloths of Athena but then his sister goes missing. Seiya continues to search for her but is unable to turn up any leads. Saori’s father makes him a deal, if he is able to win the upcoming tournament and establish himself as the greatest Bronze Saint, then he will use the family resources to find her. Seiya will have to deal with some very powerful opponents in order to achieve his end of the bargain but this is highly personal so he is going to give it his all.

This arc was fairly small to the point where I hesitate to call it a full arc. Maybe saying it’s the pre arc would be more accurate. Either way it’s a good way to kick things off as we get a nice little tournament and meet most of the characters who will ultimately stay with the main cast. Unfortunately Unicorn is one of the few characters who doesn’t stick around. I liked his little rivalry with Seiya at the beginning but it is true that Seiya far outranked him even after just a volume or two. Unicorn is at the proper level of a Bronze Saint while Seiya goes beyond that with ease.

The battles are all cool and this is really the only time you will be seeing other Bronze saints doing anything so that’s a novelty in itself. The battle between Seiya and Shiryu is really the highlight of the arc as Shiryu definitely started out with the highest base stats aside from Ikki. Seiya’s the underdog in the fight although he is the main character so you could make the case that this evens things up really quickly.

Then we have the big arc that made the series famous. So in the background there have been some shady dealings with the Pope. Well, he’s taken it a step further as Athena has been kidnapped and stabbed with a sacred arrow. Seiya and his new friends Shiryu, Andromeda, Hyoga, and a reluctant Ikki must invade Sanctuary in order to save her. To do this, they will have to get past the 12 Gold Saints, powerful warriors of legend. These guys are known to be unbeatable and protect Athena from any manner of opponent. So you might be wondering, why are these chumps not saving her themselves?

Well, to be a gold saint you must throw your logic out the window. You no longer use critical thinking but simply do as you’re told and listen to whoever calls himself the Pope. You also have a Gold Saint who is downright evil and one who doesn’t care about Athena. When you mix this all together, you’ve got a group that will not be lifting a finger to help Athena. Two Saints who even know about the situation refuse to help because they’re just too old or aren’t active anymore. That’s just great……good thing Seiya is here on the job.

Since there are 5 Bronze Saints and 12 Gold Saints to be defeated, you can see how there are a ton of battles in this arc. None of the Gold Saints will go down easy after all and the heroes often have to split up. There is a 12 hour time limit too so the heroes can’t afford to slow down either. Going full speed is absolutely the way to go here. If Athena (Who is Saori’s alter ego) is destroyed, then Seiya may never get to see his sister again.

It’s easy to see why this is know as the best arc although I’m really tempted to say that the Hades arc may be the best since it has my favorite moment in the series. It’s really tough to decide either way and it’s one of those things I’ll probably flip flop on a few times as the years go on but for now I will say that the Sanctuary arc is the best. The battles are pretty much nonstop and it’s great to see everyone getting a battle. It is a shame that the Gold Saints only tend to show up as antagonists the whole time but it’s what happens when you let honor dictate your every move.

Saint Seiya is a series that is heavily rooted in honor and always making sure you do the right thing as the group would recommend as opposed to striking off on your own. It’s why none of the Gold Saints are ever able to do anything since they are just content to watch. It’s why the Bronze Saints are causing such an uproar but it’s a good thing that they stepped up when needed. It’s a very satisfying arc and sets the stage well for the next one.

Following up on that arc was the Poseidon adventures. King Poseidon has finally reincarnated and he intends to bring the entire world under water. Athena asks him to stop the madness but forgot to bring her guards so she is locked up in a room where she will drown. She can only hold out as long as she can pray so now the Bronze Saints have to break into Atlantis and take care of business. Can they defeat all of the Mariners and Poseidon before the world is destroyed?

Saint Seiya is not a manga that minds having some casualties. Right in the beginning of the arc we see that a large portion of the world has already been destroyed. So even if the heroes do end up winning in the end, a lot of damage has been done. It’s quite the sobering thought but it definitely appears to be the case. It follows a very similar structure as the Sanctuary arc only instead of passing through each temple, the heroes have to destroy a series of pillars before the 12 hours are up and each one is guarded by a Mariner which is the equivalent of a Gold Saint. (Or so they say, but I feel like the Gold Saints would crush them)

It’s another great arc but my main gripe here is that there is literally no reason why the Gold Saints can’t come and assist. Their entire reason for existence is to protect Athena. This is mentioned numerous times in the series and yet when she is in danger they refuse to leave Sanctuary because they have to guard the temples. Really? What’s the point of the temples if your goddess is about to be murdered and the Earth destroyed? You definitely have to shake your head at the logic going on. As always, you can only root for the Bronze Saints. With nonstop fights and new characters, there is definitely no reason to dislike the arc.

Finally, that takes us to the big Hades arc. Every 250 years there is a holy war between Hades and Athena. He tries to take over the world while her knights stand in defiance of him. Well, this time things are a bit different. His forces have awoken a few years early and are immediately trying to take down her castle. The Gold Saints must try to protect her for 12 hours or all will be lost. Additionally, they refuse to have the help of the bronze saints and even say they will murder those guys if they try to help. Looks like Seiya and pals might need to try taking down both Hades’ forces as well as the gold saints.

I liked this arc for a lot of reasons. Of course you have the obvious ones like the nonstop fights and hype characters, but it’s also the first arc to really switch things up. This time you don’t have the usual battle format with the Bronze Saints doing all the work. In fact, they miss out on a good chunk of the intro as the Gold Saints actually get to do battle as heroes for the first time in the series. It’s quite extraordinary to actually see them in combat. They may get folded in quite a few of the fights as always but they get a good amount of hype.

The arc even has different sections to it so you get a lot of background changes and even story changes. The plot goes in various directions and always keeps you guessing. By the end of it you really have to give the series a thumbs up for ending on a really high note. It’s a series that ends really suddenly too so get ready for that but it’s a pretty satisfying ending and you can choose how it all went down. Naturally I think a certain someone lived and everyone just goes back home after the credits roll but there’s a few ways you can take it.

The art is very solid. It’s got a simple style like DBZ but you feel the impact behind each blow. These are absolute titans who are facing each other and the manga does a good job of illustrating that. While you may find it hard to believe they are throwing hundreds of millions of blows in a second as they say in the text, you can see how they are all moving very rapidly. You’ll never be lost during a fight and I really like how the artist draws the armors. It flows very well with the battle scenes.

As more of an old school title, prepare to see the heroes not taking any prisoners this time around. Most of the villains they face are promptly destroyed when they show up. It probably would be hard to hold most of these guys in a jail since they’re casual planet busters as well. The series can also get a bit violent with how badly each character is wounded. The Saints always take an incredible beating before they are able to get back up. One character even has his ear ripped off.

Saint Seiya also introduced the idea of never getting hit by the same attack twice. In fact, it’s mentioned in almost every battle as the Saint brags that the same move won’t work on him twice. In 99% of those instances the character is right and ends up blocking the move. This doesn’t apply to the main Saints when they are attacking though as Seiya spams the Pegasus Meteor Fist a lot and it always works eventually. He just has to use it enough times to get through the enemy defenses since it never works the first time.

The series also has basically no fanservice at all which is always worth noting. It just seems fairly rare for that to be the case and while you can certainly name some off the bat, on average you would usually expect some. This was definitely a good thing and another feather in its cap. It really makes this a series that is easy to recommend to anyone due to how inviting it is. It’s down to business as a great action title and really delivers on that front.

If anything, I just wish that it could have gone on longer so we could have had Athena actually fight. She’s a goddess and so you would expect her to be on the same level as Poseidon and Hades. Yet, those two have insane amounts of power while she seems to not even be strong enough to stop a Silver Saint. She never gets to do anything beyond the occasional block and it doesn’t really make sense. It seems to always be the case that the heroic goddess is weaker than the evil ones but it would have been nice if she could have at least been in the same league as the others.

Athena even gives direct orders to Gold Saints that they just ignore at times. You wouldn’t catch anyone talking back to Poseidon or Hades unless they wanted to be turned into fish fillet. That’s why she needed more power so that she could strike down these guys. I also find it odd that there is a complete villain among the Gold Saints who murders women and children for sport. Shiryu promptly murders him but how did anyone at Sanctuary allow this to be the case? Surely Aiolia, one of the only good Gold Saints around would have done anything. Presumably the other Gold Saints would have covered for the guy or Aiolia felt bound by the law but it’s still annoying to see a villain get high in the ranks like that.

All right, lets take a look at the various characters here. First up is Seiya of course since he’s the main character. He’s a very classic kind of main character who always stands up for what’s right and has a lot of determination. Initially he’s even got a bit of a punk attitude about him like when he’s picking fights with Unicorn but he matures really fast. Undergoing constant life or death battles will definitely do that to a person.

Seiya continually shatters expectations and is always the last fighter to go down so it’s impossible not to like the guy. He’s definitely a blast to root and if the Gold Saints would provide him even the slightest bit of support he probably could have ended the series a bit early.

Then you have Ikki who is the best character in the series. He’s an old school rival who started out as a villain but eventually realizes that this isn’t the right way to go about it. It’s hard to blame him at first though since Saori’s father was incredibly corrupt. Sending little kids to places like Death Island is incredibly traumatic and by all accounts Ikki shouldn’t have survived that experience. He managed to stay alive though and even thrived but he had to put up with a whole lot. As an ally, he’s the best ally you could ask for though.

Ikki really takes down some incredibly powerful opponents during the series. His fight with Virgo Shaka is definitely still one of the more memorable fights. That guy was incredibly broken and yet Ikki could fight him blow for blow. The fact that Ikki can continue to revive even after being destroyed also makes him incredibly difficult to fight since Ikki also gets stronger with each revival.

As for Hyoga, he’s got a tough disposition like Ikki but never actually went down the evil route. His ice abilities are solid and he has a tragic backstory as well with his Mom getting encased in ice. The Gold Saints were also petty enough to throw her to the bottom of the ocean which was definitely a low blow. Hyoga’s another solid companion to have around and I like his confident demeanor.

Then you have Andromeda who is often known to get the short end of the stick. I can’t deny that as he tends to lose a lot of fights and has a habit of getting saved by Ikki. There’s no shame in getting saved by the best in the biz of course but it happens enough times where it overshadows his own achievements. Andromeda’s Nebula Chains should be one of the strongest weapons in the series and yet it always fails. These chains can stretch across universes and dimensions and are said to be unbreakable.

The problem is that several characters break them. The chains can also sense danger and activate on their own but even with that the enemies are able to trick the chains and speed blitz Andromeda. Maybe he would have been better off without the chains if this was how it was all going to go down.

As a side note, several characters seem to get stronger after taking off their Cloths. Logically this shouldn’t make sense since the armor is what protects them from universe ending lows. It increases your defense but shouldn’t lower your offense. Still, Andromeda and Shiryu often take off their cloths to fight with no protection and that’s when they end up coming out on top. The feeling of danger excites their cosmos as they burn their way to the top. In this series your power level is highly dependent on your feelings at the moment yet it does still feel odd whenever they toss away one of their big advantages.

Next up is Shiryu who patented that technique. It seems like he would take off the armor constantly and he suffered the same issue as Andromeda with his weapon not doing so well. Shiryu’s arm always served him well but his shield would often get overpowered even though it is said to be unbreakable. It’s fortunate that Shiryu is such a powerful fighter that he doesn’t need to rely on it.

Shiryu may be a bit more of a stickler for the rules than some of the other Saints but unlike the Golds he does still step up when needed. He also may have the best durability as he gets the most punishment in each battle but always stands back up. He has a particularly impressive moment near the end of the series when he takes on 3 high ranking spectres at once. That has to be one of his best scenes.

I already talked about Athena a bit. She’s an okay character for the most part but really starts to drop off as the series goes on. In Arc 1 you can’t blame her since she hadn’t fully realized her position yet. In the Poseidon arc she definitely should have ordered some Gold Saints to help her out or had more of a plan than simply drowning. Then in the Hades arc she should never have allowed the enemies to murder her or ordered that the Bronze Saints stay home. Her long string of questionable decisions definitely ended up hurting her character in the end.

As for Poseidon, I wasn’t a big fan of his human form. He’s pretty much just a rich flirt which is not what I expect to see when I hear the word “Poseidon”. Still, as a fighter he can hold his own. He has a cool design and it’s always fun to meet one of the big bosses. He may not be the most impactful villain but he serves his role well.

Then there is Hades who is a lot more interesting. Between the fact that he has to effectively body hop each time and that he is always the same Hades across all the timelines is interesting. It makes him a very layered character in comparison to most. I would argue he is probably not the best strategist since I feel like he should easily win the war due to all the advantages that the Underworld has like infinite regeneration. If he had attacked with everyone right off the bat instead of allowing the others to seal this ability, things could have gone really well for his army. He makes for a solid end boss either way.

Pandora was a fun character. She got a lot of hype in her opening appearance even if she didn’t do a whole lot after that. Her ability to inflict any of Hades’ minions with absolute pain when she plays the harp was a cool trick. I would have liked to have seen a little more of her in action but having an Athena type figure who could actually fight was nice in and of itself.

Rhadymanthys is one of the more memorable fighters in the Hades arc. As one of the 3 Judges, his power is so considerable that he believed he could stop multiple Gold Saints on his own. He did accomplish that fact but it was in Hades’ castle so you have to question if the Gold Saints were at full power. Lost Canvas states that Hades Castle limits the power of all Athena’s saints. Now that series isn’t fully canon but I do like all of the lore it introduced so I like to include it as head canon.

If not, then we do have to acknowledge this guy as easily one of the strongest characters in the franchise which is probably true either way. This guy was cool and definitely very memorable. Then we have Hypnos who is one of the gods that works for Hades. The fact that he is a god would suggest that he is supremely powerful and that is true. Both Hypnos and Thanatos have very impressive stats and one of the better fights at the end of the series. They’re quite solid as well and it’s always nice having “High above” characters who can actually fight as opposed to just talking a good game throughout. Power over dreams and power over reality are both very tough things to overcome.

Aiolos is my favorite Gold Saint but unfortunately he dies prior to the start of the series. We only know him through a brief flashback when he saved Athena and his character is fleshed out further in spinoffs. The guy was a masterful fighter and the only saint to have as much potential as Saga. It’s a shame that he could not appear more but he stole every page that he was in.

Then we have Gemini Saga who is a very interesting character. Naturally he does have a massive role in the Sanctuary arc where he fights Seiya and friends and then he also gets a big role in the Hades arc. In both arcs I thought he was on the wrong side. He’s certainly a powerful adversary though. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Anakin Skywalker in that he was the chosen one who was meant to be the strongest saint of all but then he succumbed to the dark side. It’s a shame that he just could’t stay strong and in the light but power tends to corrupt way too quickly for that.

His Galactian Explosion is really an incredible attack and one of the most memorable techniques in the series. It’s easy to see why the characters fear him so much. He’s got to be the best villlain in the series but if you count him as a hero then he’d have to be somewhere in the Top 5. Either way he leaves quite the impact and feels a lot more prepared than most of the other Saints.

Aiolia is not to be confused with Aiolos but he is certainly following in that guy’s footsteps. Not only does he have similar powers but he also has a much stronger sense of justice than most of the Gold Saints. The only way he helps the Pope is when he is mind controlled and otherwise he wasn’t being suckered like the others. I just wish he would push aside the people stopping him when he wants to help Seiya on several occasions. They certainly could have used the help.

Taurus is the first Gold Saint that you have to pass in order to get to Athena’s chamber so you can see him as the weakest one but often times the series gives him a lot of hype. He’s an honorable man who likes a fair fight. It would be nice if he had more fighting moves than his shoulder tackle though as that one seems very limited. I like him, but never found Taurus to be nearly as powerful as everyone claims.

Virgo Shaka has the title of “The Man Closest to God” so as you can imagine he is extremely powerful. He is one of the only Saints to unlock the mythical 8th sense and consistently proves himself to be very powerful. His ability to remove your 5 senses is also cool. That said, since he knows immediately what is going on during the Sanctuary arc, it’s hard to call him a hero. He willingly stood against Athena unlike some of the others who could claim to be tricked. That is really hard to ignore.

He has a great final fight in the series but he’s not really someone you can trust. In a sense perhaps he just knows too much and that prevents him from acting. I do like him quite a bit but more as an antagonist than me accepting him as a hero. If you want to talk about someone who prefers inaction, Roshi is your best bet. The guy just stands in front of a waterfall for almost the entire series.

His only job in life is to let people know when the seal has broken and he is so slow to react that the main ivnasion happens before he can arrive. I didn’t care for him much at all during the series but he finally looks good when he transforms into his true form, Dohko. In that form he actually has a decent fight even if he ends up watching from there. He certainly does almost nothing considering that the guy has a lot of screen time. Theoretically he is one of the strongest Gold Saints but it’s really hard to say that with any confidence since he didn’t fight much.

Going away from the Gold Saints for a moment, Cassios is one of the original Bronze Saints who fights Seiya. I was not really a fan of him but he does have a bit of a redemption arc as he appears in the background as a hero. It just goes to show that even the minor characters could improve a bit but as the first guy to get crushed by Seiya, he never ends up being a true big shot.

Then you have Seika, Seiya’s sister. Throughout the series they hint that she may be Marin or that she really is missing. It’s a plot point that the series teases every now and again but doesn’t really get much of a satisfying ending. The way it concludes is definitely unexpected since I thought the series was going in a different direction but I thought the whole handling of the sub plot was a bit sloppy. It almost didn’t need to be around if this was how it was going to end up. I’m sure she’s a decent character but she doesn’t really get to do anything.

Next is Marin who is one of the Silver Saints. Due to some really outdated customs among the Saints, all female Saints are Silver level and they are not allowed to take off their mask except in front of their true love. If someone else sees them, then they must dedicate their lives to murdering that guy. It reminds you why Sanctuary isn’t as happy a place as it may sound at first.

Marin is a very tough character so none of this bothers her all that much. She has a decent supporting role and even gets a few fights on occasion. She isn’t very powerful but as a lot of the Saints have a tough time hitting a girl, it does help even the playing field a bit. Then you have Shaina who is effectively a much meaner version of Marin. I actually preferred Shaina though as she would also see reason a lot quicker and really did contribute to the team on multiple occasions. Shaina was quick to fight and that won her a lot of points in my book.

Back to the Gold Saints, we have Mu who effectively retired from the business. He spends his life recreating armors and fixing things up. He acts like a scholar but he still has the power of a Gold Saint. My main issue with him is that he looks absolutely dreadful in the Hades arc. You could also say he looks bad in Sanctuary since he doesn’t lift a finger to help. It would have been nice if he could have done something more aside from just watching in the Bleachers.

He openly gets in the way of the heroes and that has to be the worst part. By the end he was easily one of my least favorite Saints. Then there is Shion who is also in the running as one of the worst ones. First he allows himself to easily be defeated by Saga and then he joins Hades. Yes, he has a convoluted plan on why this is for the best but I never bought it. It just resulted in more dead soldiers and even then he leaves most of the work to his subordinates so he doesn’t actually do a whole lot on his own. So much for being the Pope and having a ton of power right? In the end he would falter every time.

Gemini Kanon is a character I liked quite a lot though. He starts out as a random Mariner but he actually has some strong ambitions just like Saga. He has similar abilities which makes sense since they’re family and goes from being an interesting villain to a very complex character overall. Needless to say, he’s not someone that you want to mess with as a hero or a villain. He has to go through a lot for the Saints to trust him but ultimately he does earn their trust.

Deathmask is really the Saint to watch out for. He’s pure evil as the manga goes out of its way to say that he would target a lot of women and children. Again, how is this guy allowed in Sanctuary? Well, Shiryu showed him what was up and he’s really the only Saint who they didn’t even try to redeem. He was dispatched and never looked back. He had some interesting abilities and made for a decent, psychotic villain. You won’t soon forget him.

Next up is Milo whose little stingers can be quite troublesome. If he lands 12 hits on you then it’s game over. I always liked that kind of technique since it is really hard to counter and means you have to fight very carefully. It’s also possible to die before the final blow due to how strong his moves are. He may not be one of the best Saints but his abilities are unique which makes him stand out.

Shura is another Saint who is very unreasonable while declaring himself to be absolute justice. You’d think that guys like him would listen a bit more since they want to protect Athena so much but he’s not willing to learn which is his downfall. I like his Excalibur swing though as his arm is as powerful as a sword. It’s a good way to hype up his battle with Shiryu since they have a lot of similarities.

The final Gold Saint is Aphrodite who is obsessed with his appearance. It’s fitting for his name sake but it doesn’t help make him a very interesting character either. Clearly he has his priorities mixed up and it’s no wonder that he’s not stronger. He could have used all that time to train instead.

Thetis was Poseidon’s right hand woman. She had decent abilities and performed well in her fight with Shaina. She may not have lasted very long but Thetis was a loyal soldier to the end and definitely had Poseidon’s back at all times. Then you have Baian who was one of Poseidon’s pillars. He had a lot of confidence and I liked his water abilities. He could really send you far in a fight and had a lot of confidence in his techniques.

Io is one of those characters who would do better if he wasn’t obsessed with using all of his attacks. Remember that an attack doesn’t work twice on a Saint so you want to be careful about using them all at once since the Saint will remember them now. I felt like he had the edge on Andromeda throughout but threw away his advantage by doing this.

Krishna’s a fun member of the group who is extremely confident in his own weapons being more powerful than Shiryu’s. He may have ultimately been defeated but he put up a good fight and his weapons were quite powerful. It’s just hard to match up to the Saints. Caca is more of a mental guy who fights the Saints with illusions and transformations.

He actually ended up doing a lot better than I would have expected but Ikki put an end to that. One weakness most of the Saints have does seem to be in their emotions. They don’t conceal them as much as they try to make you believe. Even Ikki has a weakness to that but he was able to power through. Caca isn’t nearly as likable as the other Pillars though as they still tried fighting with honor to the end.

Isaac really comes out of nowhere but he has a whole sob story about actually trying to be a Saint back in the day. It didn’t go well for him and he wrongly blames Hyoga. The guy felt a bit whiny to me although I liked him in the flashback. He just ended up being a far cry from his old self as the bitterness took him over. I guess that’s what happens when you go on the path of darkness.

Sorrento gets a bigger role than most of Poseidon’s men. He has some nice musical abilities which are always hard to counter and even has some suspicions about the treachery going on in the area. That said, he is extremely slow to act so maybe it doesn’t even matter that he knew something was going on. I liked him though, it’s always nice to see a villain who’s quite loyal even if unfortunately he chose the wrong side.

Minos is another one of the Judges and has a solid amount of power but doesn’t look quite as impressive as Rhadymanthys. Ultimately his arrogance is his undoing as is the case with so many other villains in the series. It’s a common theme to the point where I would even call it a moral. Underestimating your opponent will always lead to doom and destruction.

Charon has a big role as the guy who operates the ferry. I have to give him some props as he even gives Seiya a run for his money. It’s a cushy job for him since he has home field advantage and is powerful in his own right. The guy was amusing even if he was ultimately doomed in the end. He just felt like a guy who was doing his own thing. He may have served Hades but he wasn’t super loyal about it, he just also wanted his money.

Pharaoh is another villain who uses a musical instrument and once again it is shown as being incredibly difficult to counter. I suppose it’s because music pierces right through any obstacles in front of it. Regardless, he really had his way with the Saints for a while before going out and even had a bit of a tragic past. Mainly it was amplified by this guy getting jealous quick but he made for an interesting villain.

Gigant is one of the first true Spectres that we meet in the series but he is effortlessly beaten by Shaka. It further reinforces why I think the Saints are stronger than the Spectres on average. This guy was supposed to be reasonably strong but couldn’t even last for an instant. You have to admire his confidence but ultimately it was completely empty and unjustified.

Papillon is an interesting Spectre because he isn’t even humanoid anymore. The guy’s like a big pile of Jello that can transform at will. It makes him a dangerous villain since he also has psychic powers but I just couldn’t take him seriously. It was nice to have some variety in the ranks though. He stands out more than Niobe for that reason. Niobe has the famous moment where he loses to an attack but is still able to fight for an extremely long time after that before it sinks in. It’s almost like Toon Force except it is handled extremely seriously. There is no comedy to be found here.

Raimi is another Spectre who overestimated his abilities and paid the price for it. He’s only good when in a pack but one on one it was easy for Aiolia to defeat him. At least he could fight more than Zelos who loves mocking people but can’t fight for beans. He loses almost as an after thought in the series. I like to think even Unicorn could beat him but maybe that’s going too far.

Yeah Saint Seiya is definitely a series you don’t forget. There are many more fighters in the series, particularly the Hades arc which had 108 Spectres running around but a bunch of them are shortly dispatched after saying their name. You had 3 Spectres for example who ganged up on Shiryu but still ended up being clobbered in the end. Hades prefers quantity over quality which isn’t a bad bet in his circumstances. It just wasn’t enough.

Overall, Saint Seiya is definitely a masterful title and I would consider it an elite among manga. There’s just so much that happens and the series never takes a break. When 1 arc ends, the next one begins almost immediately. You’ll even feel bad for the characters as it feels like every other day they’re being beaten half to death and then have to regroup for the next fight. Athena definitely gets kidnapped a lot that’s for sure. If you like quality action then you’ll love this series because it really never rests. This isn’t the end for Saint Seiya reviews though so you can expect more soon. This review just took a while because the series is so long so there were a lot of characters to get through.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter Sanctuary Review


It’s time to take a look at the first Seiya OVA. I debated back and forth about how to style the title since there seem to be a ton of ways to put it out there, but I figured modeling it more after how the recent Transformer trilogy went down made sense. I’d keep the Hades chapter structure and then add the sub title after that. It makes for a busy title but works well enough.

The story starts with a lot of dead Saints reviving. It turns out that the time for the next Holy War has commenced. Usually it is every 250 years but for some reason it has started early. A mysterious man appears along with two Gold Saints and tells Mu that he needs to murder Athena. Mu doesn’t want to obey but this man is hard to deny. Seiya showed up to help but Mu doesn’t want any of that so he beats the hero up and sends him off. Now Mu will have to try and defeat multiple opponents on his own.

On a grander scale, the heroes have to try and protect Athena for 12 hours. If they can do that, then the danger will be passed. The issue is that this will be quite difficult since Hades is not only sending his loyal spectres but also several traitors from Athena’s own squad. Seiya and friends murdered a great deal of her followers back in the day and it looks like they want revenge. Looks like Seiya and friends will need to help out one last time. Although if the heroes continue to get in their way, Seiya may have to take them down first.

Right off the bat you can tell that although the OVA is newer than the show, the animation went downhill. For almost half of the OVA, there is virtually no animation. Characters barely move during the fights and it’s all very disjointed. I was puzzled because you’d expect everything to just look really amazing in an OVA. I mean, that’s not always the case but that’s still how you go in.

That said, I thought the director did a good job of making the most with what he had. Since the animation wasn’t up to snuff, we had some solid CGI cuts. Now, the CGI does look obvious but it’s styled as a very fancy thing. We often get CGI visuals when the characters are preparing to walk up some stairs or go to the next temple. The show cuts away to Athena’s statue numerous times as well. So while this may not be considered top tier animation or anything, the CGI is used in a way to make you feel just how grand this whole thing is. It’s like you’re stepping into a battle of the gods here.

So if we did have top tier animation it would be even better but at least this way you don’t feel bad. Also, the last few episodes actually do give us some solid cuts and fights so things do pickup. The whole OVA has a fairly sinister feeling of dread since it feels like the heroes can’t possibly win. Everyone is turning traitor and the heroes that do remain are all pretty stuck up so it’s hard to assist them even if you wanted to.

Saint Seiya has always made a big deal about honor and true friendship. Like in the original series when Hyoga is beaten near to death and Ikki doesn’t even look back to help Hyoga as he declares that he will conquer the next enemy. Hyoga then explains to the other characters that this was the correct decision since it allowed him to keep his honor. It’s not a system I agree with but they are big on pride.

Unfortunately that comes back to bite the Gold Saints a lot. Take Mu for example, he’s easily the worst character in this OVA. He has great respect for his mentor and so he must obey the guy even if it means doing something that will put Sanctuary in danger. By the time he does actually start standing up for himself, he’s already badly beaten. Beating up on Seiya was also the wrong move since the guy was here to help. Not only did it seem like Seiya was holding his own against one of the villains but he probably would have won.

By this point in the series Seiya is incredibly strong so the whole scene made no sense at all. Throughout the OVA Mu continues to make the wrong decisions. He always either sides with the villains or holds the other heroes back. It was the same thing in the original series, just not to the same effect. So any respect I had left for the character definitely vanished in this one. His crystal wall technique is still good but ultimately can’t stop the villains anymore. He needed Seiya and just didn’t want to admit it.

You can’t help but think that the arc would have been over a lot quicker if either the traitors had stayed on Athena’s side or the heroes had accepted the help of the Bronze Saints. That would have really changed a whole lot, that’s for sure. Now, there is a lot to be said that the destiny of the dead Saints is a bleak one so you can see how they would change sides, but it’s still disappointing in the end.

The soundtrack is pretty nostalgic. You’ve got some of the classic tunes from the main series as well as some new ones. The opening song is very emotional which is odd for the series. You’d expect something a lot more action packed but it does work with how this OVA is being so dramatic though. It’s a sad song I guess since everyone’s dying and there isn’t really a way to win in this Holy War. Since it’s a cycle that happens every 250 years, deep down everyone probably sees how it feels a bit futile the whole time. I prefer the classic theme song, but this one did grow on me as I heard it more.

The Bronze Saints don’t get a whole lot to do, but it’s nice to see them. Ikki in particular only gets a scene or two and yet he does steal the show in those moments. He seems to at least know a bit of what’s going on and has plans of his own. It’ll definitely be a blast to see him jump into the fray. The rest of the team eventually get to match up against Rhadymanthis. He’s not exactly an easy opponent to defeat but they still put up a good fight. This season’s more about getting them prepared for what is to come.

Seiya gets the biggest role as expected though. When the other Saints begin to give up, he’s still fighting as hard as he ever did. Nobody’s keeping him down and his Pegasus punch always gets stronger with each use. I also liked how he went to Sanctuary immediately when Athena told him to stay away. She historically has pretty bad judgement and sure enough, this was the right move. If not for being backstabbed, Seiya was really starting to cook there.

As for Athena, she does have to share in some of the blame. Mainly I said Mu did everything wrong, but she is not without fault since she also put in the order to keep the Bronze Saints out. That was just such a bad move. Did she forget how they already beat all of the Gold Saints back in Arc 1? If there is anyone you want to have by your side here, it would definitely be them. I also heavily disagreed with Athena’s final act in the OVA. It’s never good to just give him and stab yourself. I’m sure we’ll see more of her plan soon but I was definitely not impressed.

Virgo Shaka looks pretty good here. He’s always been known as one of the most powerful saints and may even be the strongest depending on where you put Gemini Saga. He has unlocked the deeper senses that most Saints struggle with and the fact that he is taking on 3 Gold Saints combined in this OVA is incredibly impressive. It’s got to be the best fight here and Shaka really shows them a thing or two. It would have been nice if he was just a second quicker on the draw but ultimately his effort was second to none. It also seems like he may not be done yet.

Tauros gets some hype as well but it’s a lot emptier to me. Lets just say that his fight involves the most delayed counter I have ever seen. Usually when someone gets sliced a minute after someone slashed I’m already calling foul. This one is several magnitudes greater than that so you already know what I’m thinking. That just doesn’t work but at least he got some dignity as a result.

Scorpio Miro gets a role here too but the guy is also doing a lot of in-fighting. One thing about the Gold Saints is they love picking on fellow heroes. Perhaps the villains just aren’t strong enough to be worth their time? Whatever the reason is, Miro spends a good amount of time beating up on someone who won’t even fight back which will make you shake your head. The guy talks tough but there was just no reason for that. Athena also isn’t able to command enough respect among her subordinates in order to put a stop to this either which is unfortunate.

Finally, we can’t forget about Aiolia. That guy is easily the best Gold Saint here. He acts quickly and without hesitation. One of the best moments in the entire OVA is when he shoves Mu out of the way and speed blitzes all 3 of the traitor saints. They couldn’t even see him coming as Aiolia just pounds them into the dirt. It was amazing and that’s the kind of response you would expect when someone just murdered one of your friends. Aiolia is a credit to the gold saints that’s for sure.

As for the villains, well Hades does not actually appear yet so don’t expect to see him. Instead, Pandora is acting as the leader of the villains. She’s also pretty tough here as just playing her harp is enough to bring one of the 3 judges to his knees. It’s hard to say how powerful this Pandora is without her weapon but at least she is confident enough to talk tough to the heroes and villains so we can assume she is fairly high up there.

Interestingly though, Hades army itself doesn’t really do a lot of the heavy lifting. The 3 traitor knights handle most of Athena’s men. It’s heavily implied that the Gold Saints would have wrecked all of the spectres with ease. Only the Judges or Celestial Stars would have been able to do much. One of them volunteers to go and fight but Pandora says it is not part of the plan.

That’s all well and good but take away the traitors and I have to say that Hades is at an absolute disadvantage. In fact, if not for Seiya and friends murdering about half of them, this could have been a landslide win for Athena’s group. So far at least, Hades army just isn’t nearly as impressive as you would expect. The only powerful member we have met thus far is Rhadymanthis who to his credit is very powerful.

He was able to take on multiple gold saints at once but granted, this was at their castle. This series hasn’t said anything yet but usually the castle heavily decreases a Gold Saint’s abilities so we can’t say for certain if he could have done that in a level playing field. Perhaps since he is so high ranked but then again, Aiolia is definitely no pushover.

As for the evil saints, Gemini Saga carries the team quite a bit. Not only is he the one with the big plans the whole time but he’s also shown to easily be the strongest. It’s not surprising since he has always been a whole lot more impressive than most. I don’t think any Saint aside from Shaka would be able to stop him. So here when the other two saints are getting rocked, Saga is always able to get up and keep fighting. He seems to have far more drive and determination than the other two, not to mention that he can see through the tricks as well. Twice, fighters try to use illusions and the other two fall for it while Saga is able to break the spell.

It’s just a shame that he’s on the wrong side. It does lead to a fun confrontation with Kanon who used to be evil as well. The sides have been reversed now with Kanon serving Athena loyally while Saga is trying to murder her. The irony in this is certainly not lost. This is Kanon’s best appearance to be sure and it’s really when I started to be a big fan of the guy. This is really a good redemption story and when you see him, it’s a pretty great reveal. That’s why he didn’t deserve to be beaten up so much by Miro.

As for Camus, he’s another one of the 3 big Saints but the guy doesn’t do a whole lot. Same with the owner of Excalibur. They’re mainly there as backup for Saga but they don’t tend to do a whole lot. I didn’t realize the gap between Gold Saints could be so large but evidently the Saints are not nearly as close in power as I would have assumed.

We also get to see Roshi finally fight in his true form as the Saint known as Dohko. He battles the previous Pope known as Shion. It’s cool to see them after checking out the Lost Canvass since they were such good friends there. Shion has certainly fallen since then in order to help the Dark Saints out. Granted, personalities tend to shift a bit with such a big franchise and it’s hard to see the old Shion acting that way, but I would have said the same for Camus and Saga. Their plan better be amazing to be worth murdering so many people everywhere.

I was never a big fan of Roshi so seeing him actually fight is cool. It at least gives him a purpose to watching the waterfall for so long even if he was not quick enough to actually warn anyone of what was coming. The entire point of his staying there was to let Athena know that something was coming so what was this guy doing? The whole task seemed a bit pointless in that respect.

This OVA includes one of my favorite moments in the franchise which is the Double Athema Exclamation. I remember reading that in the manga and thinking it was so hype when Aiolia and the other two Saints quickly assumed the pose and told the villains that they weren’t the only one capable of this kind of power. There is something about two groups using the power of a big bang against each other that just gets you hyped. I was certainly feeling good when seeing that.

Even the first use of the technique against Shaka was really hype too. It’s really an incredible attack although I don’t see why Athena banned it. Sure, it’s powerful but sometimes you need that kind of power. If it’s another honor thing…and it’s implied that it is, then it’s even less of a reason to ban the technique. You really need to use everything at your disposal whenever possible and this fight is no exception.

Now, this is less about this OVA in particular, but I think Athena should have attacked Hades before he woke up. We learn here that when a Saint dies he is thrown into the Underworld which is ruled by Hades. He can torment their souls for all eternity unless they join him in his mission. Shouldn’t Athena just dismantle the place then and either rule it or destroy the system? Even if the soul is then wiped out for good, at least it will be at peace and not forced to attack you.

The very existence of the Underworld is just a really somber thought for the Saints because it means that the only goal at the end of their eternal struggle is to be inflicted with more pain. There just isn’t a big grand prize or any reason to celebrate. I wonder if Athena has even thought of that. There may be a plot reason why this isn’t possible but I’d like to see someone mention it.

Meanwhile, another point in the OVA’s favor is that it’s just so good to see the Gold Saints actually fighting. They really didn’t get to do anything outside of fighting the heroes in the first two arcs. This is the first time we get to see them actually fighting the villains on their own. It sure took a while but ultimately it happened which is the important part. It’s definitely something to look forward to. These are the best of the best or that’s what we’re led to believe so lets see how they defend themselves.

Again, the Spectres themselves are mostly unimpressive though so I think they would go down pretty fast. You have the Beetle who doesn’t seem very tough and was getting the hands quickly. You have the guy whose back seems perpetually broken and just likes gossiping the whole time. When it comes time for a fight he goes down extremely quickly. Of course most of the really powerful ones will probably show up in the Underworld but be that as it may, the Spectres who were around were definitely no match for Sanctuary.

Overall, This was a great start to the Hades saga. I look forward to seeing the Bronze Saints get a more active role in the next one. It would also be good if the animation could take at least a bit of a step up. It should definitely keep in the selective CGI shots. I’m usually not all in for CGI but you can’t deny that it really increased the intensity and emotional moments here. It feels like a true war where there are big losses on both sides and in part that’s because we see what a grand place this is. Fighting in the temples really feels sacred. The OVA jumps you right into the action so you’ll probably want to have checked out the show first, but granted you can also leap into action and get what’s going on since it’s clear who the good guys and bad guys are. The villains are all in black/purple while the heroes are in gold. It’s tapping into classic Greek mythology like Athena vs Hades as well. Get ready for the cliffhanger though as the saga isn’t quite over yet. It’s an epic cliffhanger to end on though.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Origin Review


Saint Seiya returns with the next spinoff. It’s another trip to the past as we see more of Gemini Saga. It’s interesting how this one adds a few new angles to how the events played out. They’re all completely self contained too and even knock themselves out so it doesn’t affect canon much. It’s a nice way to make the journey more unexpected though so I’m certainly on board with this. Sadly Aiolos doesn’t return but I suppose he already got his title.

This title is 2 chapters long and starts out with Seiya bringing the pain to Gemini Saga. It’s the climax of the arc and Seiya has just landed the final blow. This causes Saga to remember how this all went down. In the past the Pope and Roshi have a discussion about trying to keep the realm strong since Hades will be showing up soon. They sense something sinister in the air but figure that it’s probably nothing. Roshi will be monitoring the waterfall after all so if something happens then he will be ready.

Well, one day a pair of comets appear and land by the Pope. It is Gemini Saga and his twin brother. They will make for great gold Saints but then another baby lands on the island. Roshi realizes that it is the dark star of legend, a sign that one of Hades heralds has arrived. He commands the Pope to destroy this baby..but it’s a baby so who’s gonna do that right? The Pope declines of course and the baby vanishes into thin air and is absorbed into Gemini Saga. Little did anyone know, that is why Saga turned evil and it wasn’t actually a split personality. It’s actually one of Hades’ minions…….

So that is a pretty interesting change that’s for sure. His name is Gemini Lemur and he is way stronger than Saga at least mentally so taking control of him during the saga was child’s play. He doesn’t actually get to talk in this special though as he just takes the form of smoke and manipulates events how he wants it to play out. It’s a nice concept but the guy barely feels like a character.

The more interesting subplot is with Ker, one of the highest ranking fighters in Hades’ army. I’m pretty sure she was made up for this prequel but I’m not positive. She woke up early somehow and decides to “play a prank” on Athena by summoning Lemur. She also mocks Kanon for kicks which backfires horribly on her. It was nice to see Kanon getting his hype here. With the Trident of Poseidon it makes sense that he would be pretty powerful. It also gave the prequel some action since this is more of a lore heavy story. So that was a nice confrontation. I always liked Kanon as a solid villain.

Ker is also pretty interesting. Honestly she probably should have just stepped in and destroyed Athena if she really wanted to make Hades proud. He certainly wouldn’t have been against it and this would have been an easy task with all of the infighting going around. It’s why narratively speaking it may be a little questionable to have someone so powerful just watching on the sidelines the whole time.

The art is pretty good as expected. The character models are on point and the action can look dramatic. You can tell that the fights would look good here if we actually got some of them. It definitely would have been a cool touch if you ask me. At only two chapters this series really goes by in the blink of an eye though. It’s not quite as strong as the other one but I had no issues with this story. It’s pretty interesting and hopefully they put it at the end of some kind of volume release as a bonus chapter. More people should get to see this part of the lore.

It doesn’t do the Gold Saints any favors though. I never cut these guys any slack because they haven’t earned it. Even here, Roshi has one job which is to watch the Waterfall in case Hades approaches and yet he doesn’t do anything even when Ker infiltrates Athena’s lair (Roshi doesn’t even realize this) and when the shadow comet lands by the Pope he still does nothing. What’s the point of standing guard if you will always just sit back and wait to see how it all plays out?

It was nice to have a lot of easter eggs and foreshadowing at the ready for the Hades arc though. Roshi explaining that a shadow comet is the sign of their arrival is something that did happen at the beginning of the Hades arc. Likewise, that the reason he can’t move by the Waterfall is that he has to wait for the Hades seal to come undone. Of course, it’s pretty easy to add Easter Eggs when a prequel comes out way after the series completed but it’s still nice to see. It helps everything just feel more expansive.

Overall, Saint Seiya: Origin is a good little story. You almost feel like a title that says “Origin” would be about the original Saints though and not how Saga got his dark side. Even in this chapter they reference the events of the original Holy War and how a lot of the Golden Saints died. They’re the ones who would need a prequel. I’m sure they’ll show up in one of the many spinoffs but a title literally called “Origin” would definitely be very fitting for those guys. Either way this is definitely another story I can certainly recommend.

Overall 7/10